Bill expanding California Family Leave Act sent to governor


Lisa Bautista found herself in a situation where she couldn't help care for her grandmother as much as she wanted in her final days. The nurse asked her boss if she could take paid time off but couldn't.

Workers can get 55 percent of their pay only for up to six weeks when caring for sick parents, children, spouses and domestic partners.

"As part of the Paid Family Leave Act, the grandmothers aren't included, and I really couldn't believe that. I mean, she's my grandmother," said Bautista.

The state Legislature sent Governor Brown a bill that would expand the list of relatives to grandparents, siblings and in-laws. Supporters say that reflects the responsibilities of today's families.

Employees pay for it through their paycheck deductions under Short-Term Disability Insurance.

"These are funds that are paid by employees, and not the employer. They're monies that are put into a fund by each of us at our workplace," said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).

Opponents sympathize with families, but they say there comes a point when somebody has to do the work. They say imagine a small business that doesn't have a lot of employees.

"At the end of the day, somebody has to do some work or else the company can't stay in business. We want to support those families, that's why we support parents taking time off, but adding grandparents, siblings goes too far," said state Sen. Joel Anderson (R-La Mesa).

Bautista thinks she'll have other sick relatives to care for and urges the governor to sign the measure.

"I can't live without my pay, especially in this economy. I have two children. I'm the main breadwinner," said Bautista.

Brown has until mid-October to take action on the proposed expansion of the California Family Leave Act.

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