On Friday, September 30th, Governor Newsom signed two bills into law that will offer important support to families with young children.
Senate Bill 951, which was introduced by Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), increases the amount of money workers receive under California’s paid family and medical leave program. Beginning in 2025, the state will pay up to 90% of wages to new parents and to individuals who need to take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member or because of their own serious illness. The bill also ensures wage replacement of 60-70% for the next two years. The wage replacement rate had been scheduled to return to 55% on January 1st.
This increase in paid family leave benefits is especially important for low-wage earners, who pay into the state disability system, but couldn’t afford to take time off when the replacement wage was just 55% of their actual wages. Senate Bill 1047, authored by Senator Monique Limon, will make it easier for families to enroll in and continue to access subsidized child care and preschool, and will streamline the enrollment process for early childhood care and learning providers. The new law reduces paperwork for families and administrative requirements for providers, by allowing low-income families to use their eligibility for other government-subsidized programs, like CalFresh and MediCal, to apply. It also extends the eligibility time-frame for subsidized care from 12 to 24 months.