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Newsom signs family leave expansion to benefit lower paid workers

on October 1, 2022

On Friday, California expanded family leave benefits, making it easier for lower wage-earns to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 951, which extends for two years the family leave law that was set to expire at the end of this year. And in 2025, workers earning less than the state’s average wage — about $57,000 a year — will go from a maximum of 70% of their pay to receiving up to 90% while on leave.

The change could have a big impact on places such as Richmond, where more than 1 in 5 people earns $39,900 or less, according to U.S. Census data.

 “California created the first Paid Family Leave program in the nation 20 years ago, and today we’re taking an important step to ensure more low-wage workers, many of them women and people of color, can access the time off they’ve earned while still providing for their family,” Newsom said in a news release.

Last year, Newsom vetoed a similar bill that would have expanded paid leave, saying it would create significant new costs. SB 951, however, addressed those costs by removing a cap that effectively raises payroll contributions for high earners

On Friday, Newsom also signed an Assembly bill that will enable workers to take paid sick leave or family leave to care for a person who isn’t a family member.

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