New National Legislation Takes Important Lessons From California's Paid Family Leave


This piece is excerpted from the Huffington Post.

Sometimes, family must come first. When a parent or child falls ill requiring round-the-clock care, when an expectant mother is put on bed-rest months before delivery, or, when a child comes into the family, we know that there is no place else we need to be except with our family. But, for too many of us, instead of being able to focus on our family responsibilities, we have to worry about our next paycheck and whether our boss will give us the time we need.

Thankfully, people in California don't face this problem alone. In 2002, California took a historic step by passing the first paid family leave law in the nation. This law has helped 1.6 million people take time away from their jobs for up to six weeks to care for an ill family member or bond with a new child (by birth, foster, or adoption), without the threat of losing their entire income. Nearly every private-sector worker in California contributes a portion of each paycheck to the state disability system, and a small portion of those contributions fund the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.

Last week, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced legislation that follows in California's footsteps. The FAMILY Act would give workers in every state what Californians already have: The right to be with their families when it really matters.

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