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California Governor Proposed America’s Longest Paid Parental Leave

Amanda Tarlton

Parents in California could soon have the longest paid parental leave in the country, thanks to a new proposal by governor Gavin Newsom. As part of his 2019 budget plan announced on Thursday, Newsom requested six months of paid leave for both moms and dads.

“To promote affordability and family bonding, the Administration is committed to expanding the Paid Family Leave program with the goal of ensuring that all newborns and newly adopted babies can be cared for by a parent or a close family member for the first six months,” reads the proposal for the 2019-2020 “California for All” state budget.

Currently, California Paid Family Leave only offers up to six weeks of leave for parents, plus an additional six weeks of disability for mothers. Same-sex couples and adoptive parents, however, receive even less.

If Newsom’s plan is approved, the six-month policy, which covers the care of either a newborn or a newly adopted baby, will allow two parents to split the time (meaning each parent could take three months, for example).

“It’s a developmental necessity,” Newsom, who was elected in November, explained. In his inaugural address last week, the father of four also said, “We will support parents so they can give their kids the love and care they need, especially in those critical early years when so much development occurs.”

Director of the California Work & Family Coalition, Jenya Cassidy, hopes Newsom’s proposal will set a new precedent for the rest of the U.S., which is the only developed country in the world without guaranteed paid parental leave.

“[The plan] can fuel the momentum we need to make this happen the way it needs to happen,” she said.

Only three other states (New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) offer paid family leave, while Washington, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts have plans set to roll out in the next few years. All of the plans are between four and 12 weeks.

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