Laws To Expand Paid Family Leave, Disability Coverage Take Effect
Several new California laws go into effect Tuesday, including measures to expand paid family leave and increase requirements for disability insurance policies, the Sacramento Bee reports.
An increase in CalSTRS contributions also takes effect Tuesday (White, Sacramento Bee, 7/1).
Paid Family Leave Expanded
In September 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation (SB 770) to expand California's Paid Family Leave program to include workers who take time off to care for seriously ill grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws (California Healthline, 9/25/13).
The program allows eligible employees to take off up to six weeks of partially paid leave from their jobs annually and receive 55% of their wages for the time they take off. The measure requires workers to provide a doctor's note stating that their relative needs care.
Funding for the law comes from the state disability insurance program, which employees contribute to through their paychecks (Fernandes, "Pass/Fail," KPCC, 6/30).
Increased Disability Insurance Requirements
Another law (AB 402) going into effect Tuesday requires disability insurance plans to cover severe mental illnesses, such as:
- Bipolar disorder;
- Bulimia; and
Building Codes for Abortion Providers
A law (AB 980) requiring building code standards for abortion clinics in the state to be the same as codes for all other primary care clinics also goes into effect Tuesday (Sacramento Bee, 7/1).
Supporters of the law -- such as the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California -- have said that clinics providing early-term abortion services should not have to meet different and more costly construction standards than other clinics. However, opponents of the law have argued that altering the standards could increase risks to patients (California Healthline, 9/10/13).
Increase in CalSTRS Contributions
Meanwhile, school districts, teachers and the state will begin paying higher contributions to CalSTRS on Tuesday. The rate hike is the first in a series of incremental contribution increases.
The change is part of a plan to reduce the pension fund's "massive" shortfall, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 7/1).
A recent Legislative Analyst's Office report found that CalSTRS is one of the state's greatest long-term risks, with $73.7 billion in unfunded liability. In the report, LAO Analyst Mac Taylor said, "Because CalSTRS and retiree health liabilities tend to have higher interest rates than the items on the wall of debt, failing to prioritize CalSTRS and retiree health will increase the state's budgetary risk in the longer run" (California Healthline, 5/12).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.