2015 Priority Bills

SB 406 (Jackson) Job Protection for Paid Family Leave

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) guarantees workers the critical right to take time off from work to bond with a new child or care for a family member with a serious health condition. Unfortunately, CFRA is not available to all California workers. CFRA excludes the 40% of Californians who work for a company that employs fewer than 50 employees. Also, the CFRA definition of family members that a worker may care for is overly narrow. SB 406 would lower the employer threshold so more workers would be covered under CFRA and align its definition with that of Paid Family Leave. This change would allow workers to care for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law. SB 406 would help more California workers take needed time off to care for their families.

For more information, read the bill language and the Fact Sheet.

SB 579 (Jackson) Family Engagement Act – Helping Workers Attend to Childcare Necessities

SB 579 ensures that parents can be engaged in their children’s education and child care by allowing them to use job-protected, unpaid time off already provided by the Family School Partnership Act to find and enroll their children in child care or school. In addition, it will protect families during unexpected interruptions in child care by allowing parents to use paid sick days to care for their children during child care emergencies.

For more information, read the bill language and the Fact Sheet.

AB 357 (Chiu & Weber) Fair Scheduling Act of 2015

A growing number of American workers are subject to last minute work schedules. These workers have little control over their monthly earnings and these schedules prevent workers from scheduling stable child care arrangements or working a second job. AB 357 would require certain large retail employers to provide workers at least two weeks’ notice of their work schedules, and pay them for work missed as a result of last-minute schedule changes. Moreover, it would require these employers to accommodate workers’ needs to attend appointments at the county social services agency necessary to apply for or maintain eligibility for food and cash assistance.

For more information, read the bill language or the campaign’s website.

AB 908 (Gomez) A Stronger Paid Family Leave Program for Stronger Families

California’s Paid Family Leave program provides partial wage replacement (approximately 55% of prior wage levels) for up to six weeks for bonding with a new child or caring for a relative. The program is wholly funded through worker contributions, and is administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD) in tandem with the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. For many workers who are paid low wages, 55% of their wages is insufficient to cover their basic needs.

AB 908 would raise the wage replacement rate for workers, and extend family leave for four additional weeks. These changes would provide additional economic security so workers can take family leave without risking severe financial hardship. The minimum weekly benefit payment would be $250, and wage replacement rates would range from 65% for higher income workers to 80% for low-income workers.

For more information, read the bill language and the Fact Sheet.


The California Work & Family Coalition

The California Work & Family Coalition is an alliance of working parents, caregivers, advocates, and union members working on policies that expand and protect every Californian’s right to put their family first. We helped pass California’s Paid Family Leave law and we continue to advocate for policies that ensure the economic security of families. We educate workers, policymakers, and employers about the ways that work-family balance can help children and families thrive.

For information about the California Work & Family Coalition, go to workfamilyca.org or e-mail Jenya Cassidy at jenya.cassidy@thenextgeneration.org.

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Event: The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation

Join Educators Collaborate for a viewing of the documentary, The Raising of America. The documentary explores how a strong start for all our kids can lead to a healthier, safer, better educated and more prosperous and equitable America.

Monday, March 23, 2015
6:00 – 8:30pm

San Jose Conference Room
Santa Clara County Office of Education
1290 Ridder Park Drive
San Jose, CA 95131

RSVP here.

After the viewing, there will be a panel discussion centered upon family access to California’s Paid Family Leave and the California Family Rights Act – both important laws that support working parents’ and caregivers’ ability to be there when their children and families need them most. Read more about the event here.


Julie Nicholson, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Education at Mills College.

Jenya Cassidy, statewide Director of the California Work & Family Coalition.

Julie Weatherston, Senior Program Associate with the Center for Child and Family Studies at WestEd.

Dr. Kelley Abrams, who received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in developmental psychology where she focused on infant-parent attachment.


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Bay Area PLAN Honors the California Work & Family Coalition

By Jenya Cassidy, Project Director, California Work & Family Coalition

I was honored to be named a “Community Hero” at the 10th anniversary of the Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN) – an organization that has worked for more than a decade to improve Oakland low income public schools by increasing parent involvement.  PLAN trains and gives parents the tools to advocate for their children and influence decision making in the school district. At the January 29th anniversary party, PLAN members recognized community leaders whose work supports the goal of building “parent power” in Oakland public schools.

PLAN leaders highlighted my work leading the California Work & Family Coalition in fighting for family friendly jobs. For 10 years, Coalition organizations have helped pass laws that expand the rights of parents and caregivers in the workplace.  Children thrive when their parents make a living wage, have access to paid family leave, paid sick days, and have predictable and flexible schedules to be there when their family needs them. Work family balance makes a huge difference to school children: Studies show that children do better in school when their parents can take an active role in their education. Yet, with changing employer hiring and scheduling practices in food service and retail industries, this can be harder than ever for a growing number of California working parents.

Not only our children, but our schools and communities thrive when parents have time to be informed and involved. Yet, for parents working two or more jobs with unpredictable schedules, it can be a challenge to see kids at night and check homework let alone make it to a PTA meeting or a gardening day.  It’s easy to see how making change in the workplace has a ripple effect on students, schools and communities.

The PLAN anniversary event celebrated the impact community activism has on our children and our schools.  I was proud to share the stage with organizers and leaders including Clarissa Doutherd from Parent Voices, Juan Vera from the Youth Law Academy at Centro Legal de la Raza, Gregory Hodge, whose work supports the  Boys and Men of Color Initiative, and Tammy Johnson, a speaker on race equity and co-founder of Your Body Raks belly dance.  These leaders spoke from the heart, sharing a belief that building parent power is the way to create thriving schools and communities.

It takes courage and tenacity to make a difference. At the anniversary event, Tammy Johnson, from Raks belly dance, gave a fun demonstration of courage and tenacity by teaching the audience to shimmy.  She said “this is what it’s like to build Parent Power: You have to stay grounded while you learn to shake things up!”

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