California's governor just proposed giving parents six months paid leave. Impressive for the US, but not the world

As if you needed another reason to pack your belongings and head west, California's governor just proposed a...

Posted: Jan 12, 2019 2:14 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2019 2:15 PM

As if you needed another reason to pack your belongings and head west, California's governor just proposed a plan to give new parents six months of partial-paid leave -- the most generous policy in the nation.

Describing the proposal as a "no-damn-brainer," Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his plan on Thursday at a budget press conference in Sacramento.

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'We're committed to a six-month paid sick leave system," he said. "Why? For no other reason than it's a developmental necessity."

The plan, part of the Democratic governor's $209 billion budget plan, would compensate new parents up to 70 percent of their wage when they take off to care for a newborn or newly adopted baby. Two parents or caretakers would be allowed to take advantage of the program for up to three months each.

It's a major upgrade to the state's current paid family leave policy, which provides up to only six weeks of partial pay for employees as part of the state's Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave Program.

California's Assembly Budget Committee and state senate have until June 15 to review and vote on the proposal.

US lags behind in parental leave

If passed, Newsom's proposal would set a precedent in the United States, but certainly not the world.

The US ranks last in maternity leave in an analysis of 42 countries by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of industrialized nations. No surprise there, as the US doesn't guarantee women any paid maternity leave. Instead, it lets individual employers decide how much to offer.

The 11 best countries for maternity leave are all European, with Bulgaria -- which offers just under 59 weeks of paid leave -- leading the pack, according OECD. Estonia and Poland are tied for 10th place with 20 weeks each.

The OECD study, based on policies that were in effect as of April 2016, notes that not all countries ranking in the top 10 offer fully paid time off.

Mothers in the UK, for example, get a whole year (52 weeks) of maternity leave. However, 39 of those weeks are partially paid. The amount women receive over that period works out at just 12 fully paid weeks, according to the OECD.

The US' failure to guarantee women any paid maternity leave breaks with The International Labor Organization's call for "14 weeks of maternity benefit to women," including "a cash benefit" that should "be no less than two-thirds of her previous earnings or a comparable amount."

Women "require protection to ensure that they will not lose their job simply because of pregnancy or maternity leave," says the UN agency.

"Protecting them from job discrimination is a precondition for achieving genuine equality of opportunity and treatment for men and women at work."

CNN parenting contributor Elissa Strauss says that California's proposed bill is "so much better than nothing, but leaves room for improvement."

Calls for parental leave make headway

The idea of implanting a national paid-leave plan in the United States is making headway. In fact, it was included in the Trump administration's 2019 budget. The proposal calls for six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers.

It's a rare call for a new entitlement program from the administration.

Meanwhile, Democrats have long called for paid family leave. Since 2013, congressional Democrats have introduced and reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave, or FAMILY, Act, which would allow workers to take up to 60 individual days of paid leave per year to care for a new child, sick family member or tend to one's own illness.

In lieu of a national law, some states have taken it upon themselves to enact family legislation.

In 2004 California became the first state to introduce paid leave through the creation of a temporary disability insurance program. New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington DC followed suit with their own paid-leave programs.

Washington state will start to offer paid family and medical leave to workers in 2020.

"Paid leave isn't just a policy. It's also an important cultural shift that shouldn't be overlooked," Strauss said. "It sends the message that this is not just an important thing to do but an OK thing to do."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 587405

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson853851591
Mobile48932864
Madison37517533
Shelby27280257
Tuscaloosa27171465
Montgomery26172627
Baldwin25399329
Lee17224181
Calhoun15401334
Morgan15170291
Etowah14954370
Marshall13116235
Houston12077293
Elmore10915219
St. Clair10763252
Limestone10725158
Cullman10546205
Lauderdale10255254
DeKalb9508192
Talladega8949188
Walker7793288
Autauga7563114
Jackson7400117
Blount7362139
Colbert6703142
Coffee6365132
Dale5650117
Russell480243
Chilton4771117
Covington4749125
Franklin458181
Tallapoosa4519156
Escambia441383
Chambers3949125
Dallas3743163
Clarke371263
Marion3463107
Pike332579
Lawrence3263100
Winston298773
Bibb290465
Geneva283983
Marengo262467
Barbour250961
Pickens245562
Butler240872
Hale235578
Fayette227065
Henry213945
Monroe202141
Randolph201144
Cherokee199248
Washington185239
Macon170552
Crenshaw168358
Clay166259
Cleburne161345
Lamar151038
Lowndes145455
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh121332
Coosa118329
Perry110528
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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