Calif. expands job security for workers who take parental leave

Legal Aid at Work client Alfonso

Millions more new parents who work in California soon will be able to take up to 12 weeks off work without fear of being fired. The New Parent Leave Act (SB 63), which Gov. Jerry Brown signed today, was introduced by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and received bipartisan support.

The bill was cosponsored by Legal Aid at Work, First 5 California, and the California Employment Lawyers Association, and it was priority legislation for the California Work & Family Coalition and championed by the Stronger CA Advocates Network.

“This is a great day for California families,” said Sharon Terman, director of the Work & Family Program at Legal Aid at Work. “Bonding leave improves health outcomes for children and parents and promotes gender equity at home and at work. Now, up to 2.7 million more workers in California will have the basic right to take time to bond with a newborn, foster, or adopted child without risking their jobs.”

“This victory brings us closer to having a Paid Family Leave program that truly works for all Californians,” said Jenya Cassidy, director of the California Work & Family Coalition.

The new law requires employers that have between 20 to 49 employees within 75 miles to hold eligible workers’ jobs when they take up to 12 weeks of parental leave. 

Most workers in California contribute to the state’s Paid Family Leave program, but until now, only those who worked at companies with at least 50 employees were entitled to job protection while on leave. That left out 40 percent of the workforce.

“The first months of each child’s life are a crucial time for not only bonding, but brain development and setting up children for future success,” said Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California. “All parents deserve this critical tool to be the best possible parent to their children.”

“We applaud Governor Brown for recognizing the importance of parental leave to the health and welfare of our state’s working families,” said Mariko Yoshihara, CELA’s legislative counsel and policy director. “Providing more workers with job protection while on parental leave helps deliver on a promise the state made 15 years ago when it passed Paid Family Leave.”

SB 63 had the support of a broad array of health, business, workers’ and children’s organizations. It takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

About Legal Aid at Work:

Legal Aid at Work (formerly Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center) delivers on the promise of justice for low-income people. We provide free direct services through our clinics and helplines. We offer extensive legal information for free online and in trainings, we litigate individual and class actions, and we advocate for new policies and laws. Details:

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