State Family Leave Law Takes Effect
Beginning Thursday, California workers who have contributions to the state disability fund deducted from their paycheck will be eligible to receive a portion of their wages while they care for a seriously ill relative or a newborn, the Sacramento Bee reports (Payne, Sacramento Bee, 7/1). Under (SB 1661), which former Gov. Gray Davis (D) signed into law in 2002, workers who pay into the fund will be eligible to receive as much as 55% of their regular pay, up to $728 per week. The cap will be increased to $840 weekly in 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports (Vrana/Banks, Los Angeles Times, 6/30). The law is funded through payroll deductions of 0.08% that have been in place since January, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. According to the Employment Development Department, approximately $130 million has been withheld to date. More than 3,000 claims for benefits under the law had been filed as of Friday, with the majority from parents. EDD estimates that this year, approximately 310,000 employees will receive benefits through the program, amounting to a payout of almost $380 million (Mesfin, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 6/30). The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that California is the first state in the nation to enact a family leave law (Kinsman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/1).
Summaries of recent broadcast coverage addressing the law are provided below.
- MPR's "Marketplace" on Monday reported on the California family leave law. The segment includes comments from business lobbyist Sarah Agassi and California small business owners and employees (Gardner, "Marketplace," MPR, 6/28). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "Talk of the City" on Wednesday included a discussion of the Family Leave Act with Capital Public Radio reporter Jenny O'Mara (Felde, "Talk of the City," KPCC, 6/30). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KQED's "The California Report" on Thursday will include an interview with Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) about the law (Shafer, "The California Report," KQED, 7/1). The complete segment will be available online in RealPlayer after the broadcast.