California Continues to Lead the Nation on Paid Family Leave Policy

California’s Landmark Paid Leave Program Receives Necessary Update

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–George Halvorson, Chairman of the First 5 California Commission, and
Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California, praised
Governor Jerry Brown, Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, and Senator
Hannah-Beth Jackson for signing AB 908, a bill that increases workers’
access to the Paid Family Leave program, especially for the state’s
lowest and moderate income workers.

“Research is clear: the first months and years of each child’s life are
crucial to life success, as over 80% of a child’s brain development is
completed in the first three years of life,” said Mr. Halvorson. “This
bill allows more parents the opportunity to spend time talking, reading,
and singing to their children in those first key months, setting their
children on a positive life path.”

California’s 12-year-old landmark program, the first in the nation, is
still only one of three active Paid Family Leave policies nationwide.
The current program is fully-funded by California workers and allows
workers to take up to six weeks paid leave at 55% of their monthly
salary to bond with a newborn or adopted child during those first key
months of a child’s life. According to a state report, California’s
current Paid Family Leave program is inaccessible to our lowest and
moderate income workers who can’t afford the 45% pay cut to care for
their newborns.

AB 908, signed by the Governor today, will eliminate the current
program’s one-week without pay provision, and will increase the wage
replacement rate to 70% for the state’s lowest income workers, and 60%
for the rest of workers—who are already contributing 100% to the fund,
but cannot afford to access their own benefits.

“I applaud the Assemblymember Gomez, Senator Jackson, and Governor Brown
for their leadership on this key issue to better support young children
and working families. This much needed update to our Paid Family Leave
program takes steps to eliminate some of the huge barriers working
parents face to spending those key first months of life bonding with
their babies,” said Ms. Maben.

Last week, New York set a new national standard with 12-week paid leave,
and the City of San Francisco voted on a groundbreaking paid leave
policy to provide full wage replacement. As Governor Brown signs AB 908
into law today, California continues to be a national leader in ensuring
workers have access to the paid leave necessary for parents to spend the
first key months of their babies’ lives establishing a foundation for
their children’s life success.

“I look forward to the next policy debate on how to extend California’s
leave policy beyond the current short six weeks to better support our
children in these key early months and years,” added Ms. Maben. “Paid
Family Leave is not a luxury for a parent, it’s a biological and
developmental necessity for a child. And we need to provide every
opportunity for our children to succeed, as all Californians depend on
our children’s future prosperity to support our shared prosperity.”

About First 5 California

First 5 California, also known as the California Children and
Families Commission, was established after voters passed Proposition 10
in November 1998, which added a tax on tobacco products to fund
education, health, childcare, and other services for children ages 0 to
5 and their families. Its programs and resources are designed to educate
teachers, parents, grandparents, and caregivers about the critical role
they play during a child’s first five years – with the overarching goal
of helping more California kids grow up healthy and ready to succeed in
school and in life. For more information, please visit


First 5 California
Erin Gabel, 916-708-8895