New California law to boost PFL benefits for all workers

New California law to boost PFL benefits for all workers

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill into law that will boost Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits for all workers across the state.

Signing the Assembly Bill 908, which was authored by Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Echo Park, Mr. Brown said the state wanted to do the maximum possible to ensure that every individual has a decent life.

The bill enjoyed bipartisan support. Under the new law, those who earn minimum wage will get 70 per cent of their salary while on leave. Gomez called the measure a “lifeline” for California families. He recalled that he spent a week in the hospital as a child and nearly bankrupted his family because of missed work and lost wages.

The bill was originally designed to expand PFL to ten weeks, but it was later reduced to six weeks to make it more financially viable for Californians who pay for the program.

Defending the reduction, Gomez said, “If you increase it too much, more money comes out of the workers' pockets to fund the program. We didn’t want that. So, we had to make a decision: do we increase the wage replacement or do we increase the weeks?”

The PFL program is funded through worker contributions, and the change is scheduled to take affect in 2018.