SB 951: Paid family leave wage replacement beginning January 1, 2025
According to the World Policy Center, the United States is one of only 2 nations in the world without paid family leave, sharing this disgraceful distinction with Papua New Guinea, a nation with a population smaller than Los Angeles County. Since its enactment in 2002, California’s Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) program has been a model for a country woefully behind the rest of the world in terms of paid leave. Yet, with skyrocketing costs of living in the Golden State, countless workers living paycheck to paycheck, and a paid leave program that covered only a little more than half of workers’ regular wages, many Californians still could not afford to take time off. The California Budget and Policy Center estimates that high and middle-wage workers have used the State’s Paid Family Leave program at a rate 4 times the rate of lower-wage workers. Without adequate wage replacement, lower-wage workers, who are disproportionately Latinx, Black, and female-identifying, have put off seeking urgent medical care, lost precious time with newborn and adopted children, and left ailing loved ones home alone to care for themselves.
SB 951 has the potential to make paid family medical leave a reality for all California workers. Starting January 1, 2025, employees who earn 70 percent or less than the average wage in California will be eligible to receive 90 percent of their wages through the Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) programs. Those who make more will receive 70 percent of their pay. With this expansion, California continues to blaze the trail towards fully paid family medical leave.