Victory for Working Families – Governor Brown Signs AB 908 to Expand Paid Family Leave!
by Mitch Seaman
California’s workers won a victory today with the Governor’s approval of AB 908 (Gomez)—legislation to raise benefits and improve access within our landmark Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave programs.
Here in California, employees injured outside of work can receive partial wage replacement for up to one year while they recover. Also, workers may access this same fund for up to six weeks while either bonding with a new child or caring for a sick relative. However, the relatively low benefits—55% of wages—have left far too many workers unable to participate in either program, and in addition, a one-week waiting period for paid family leave requires workers to needlessly lose a week of pay before benefits can begin.
AB 908 addresses both of these problems by both raising benefits and eliminating the waiting period. Low income workers will see their weekly wage replacement benefits rise from 55% of wages to 70%; everyone else will go from 55% to 60%. Also, the one week waiting period for paid family leave is gone, allowing workers in need of these benefits to focus on family, not money.
The California Labor Federation, as well as many other unions and worker advocacy groups, worked hard to ensure that AB 908 will strengthen these programs, improve benefits, avoid unintended consequences, and protect the needs of injured Californians as well as those with family needs. We applaud all involved for this historic improvement to an already historic program.