Davis Should Sign Paid Family Leave Bill, San Francisco Chronicle Says
Gov. Gray Davis (D) should sign a bill (SB 1661) approved by the Legislature that would provide employees with disability pay to allow them to care for a family member with an illness or to spend time with a newborn, according to a San Francisco Chronicle editorial (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/9). The legislation would require the state disability insurance program -- funded by California employers and employees -- to pay "partial replacement compensation" for as many as six weeks when an employee leaves work as a result of a "temporary family disability" and would allow employees to take an additional six weeks of unpaid leave. Employees who qualify would receive benefits to care for a "seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner or to bond with a newborn infant." The bill would require a doctor to "verify that there was a serious illness or a new child" before an employee could take a leave. In addition, the legislation would require employees to take two weeks of unused vacation time before they received the paid leave and to provide verification that no other family member could serve as a caregiver. The legislation would provide employees with payments that range from $50 to $490 per week and cap payments at 55% of earnings for the period of leave. The bill would require employees to cover the full cost of the program (California Healthline, 9/3). Although state and federal law allows workers at California companies with 50 or more employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave, many workers "cannot afford to care for family members without a paycheck," the editorial states. The editorial concludes that Davis "should be proud to make history by signing this landmark paid family leave into law" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.