(Sacramento) – Joined by a diverse coalition of families and advocates, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 908, a measure authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), into law today. Under AB 908, California will lead the nation once again by significantly expanding its Paid Family Leave program (PFL) by increasing wage replacement payments from 55% to 60% - 70%, depending on income level.
“Today marks a significant victory for all Californians,” said Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez. “Paid Family Leave is a lifeline for countless families in our state. However, workers already living paycheck to paycheck on 100 percent of their salary simply could not afford to use a program for 6 weeks at nearly half of their wages. That’s why I authored AB 908, to fix this inequity and ensure all who pay into this vital program can afford to use it, regardless of their income.”
California’s first-in-the-nation PFL program currently provides workers with a 55% wage replacement rate for up to 6 weeks to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Although the program has benefited millions of Californians, its current benefit structure is fundamentally inaccessible to those on the lowest rungs of our state’s economic ladder. According to a recent California Employment Development Department report, workers cited the wage replacement rate as a key limitation in regards to using PFL. This was especially pronounced in lower income potential users, who stated that it was difficult to make ends meet with partial wages.
"Families should be able to afford time off to take care of a new child or a member of their family who becomes ill," said Governor Brown. "This expansion makes sense for employers and employees."
AB 908 addresses the program’s inequities by increasing the wage replacement rate to 70% for those making minimum wage and 60% for most almost all other workers.
“As a child, I spent seven days in the hospital with pneumonia and nearly bankrupted my family,” added Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez. “Between lost wages for missing work and the cost of my medical bills, my parents were barely able to make ends meet. I want to thank Governor Brown for standing with the hard working families of our state and helping ensure that every worker, regardless of income, is given the opportunity to care for a new child or ill family member without significant financial hardship.”
California’s PFL program is wholly funded through worker contributions, and is administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD) in tandem with the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. Similar increases will also take effect for the state’s State Disability Insurance program under AB 908.
Website of Assemblymember Gomez: www.asmdc.org/gomez
Below are links to audio of Assemblymember Gomez and a link to entire news conference:
Remarks from Assemblymember Gomez at today’s AB 908 signing ceremony. (2:11)
Assemblymember Gomez says AB 908 is all about helping families. (:13)
Assemblymember Gomez says he was hoping to do even more with AB 908 but says the legislation is in the best interest of families and California. (:07)
Audio of entire news conference. (19:16)
CONTACT: Aaron Keshishian, (818) 624-4282