California governor proposes nation’s longest paid family leave

Newsom and his administration proposed six months paid family leave, the nation's longest if approved.

Image Credit: CNN

California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his proposal to expand the paid family leave program as part of the new state budget plan. According to the governor’s budget summary, Newsom and his administration proposed six months paid family leave, the nation’s longest if approved.

What many are calling “bold” and “groundbreaking,” the framework adopted in this budget promotes a healthy start that prepares children and families for years to come, the governor’s budget summary said.

“The administration is committed to expanding the paid family leave program with the goal of ensuring that all newborns and newly adopted babies can be cared for by a parent or a close family member for the first six months, positive health and educational outcomes for children, greater economic security for parents, and less strain on finding and affording infant child care.”

According to the governor’s budget summary, he three way the budget promotes a healthy start include:

  • Improving educational access through substantial investments in preschool, kindergarten and child care, and improving access to health care services through developmental screenings and referrals.
  • Supporting parents with expanded paid family leave to promote family bonding, increased home-visiting assistance, medical screenings, and student-parent scholarship awards.
  • Easing the financial burden on parents with higher CalWORKs grants for low-income
    parents and expanding access to child savings accounts for kindergartners so their
    families can build assets and save for their education.

Under current laws, “each parent may take up to six weeks of paid family leave and, under California’s Disability Insurance Program, a birth mother may take an additional six weeks of leave to recover from childbirth.

The administration is working on creating a task force to develop different “options to phase-in and expand Paid Family Leave to allow children to be cared for by a parent or a close relative for up to six months.” Under the proposal each parent will have the opportunity to take up to three months of paid parental leave, if the child has a single parent, that parent will have the chance to “designate a close relative to take the second three months of care.”
“It’s a developmental necessity,” Newsom said at a press conference. “We’re committed to this.”
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