Proposal on 18 weeks of family leave in L.A. moves forward

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New parents in Los Angeles could soon have even more reasons to rejoice after the birth of a new baby. The Los Angeles City Council moved forward Tuesday with a plan to extend fully paid family leave to 18 weeks.

State law already allows new parents to take up to 18 weeks of paid family leave, but only provides eligible applicants with 60 to 70 percent of their wages during that time. There’s also cap on those earnings.

The proposed municipal program would supplement state funds with existing State Disability Insurance and Paid Parental Leave programs to cover 100 percent of wages. The program would be paid by the employers but could create an exemption or risk pool for small businesses and nonprofits.

“As the cost of living continues to rise while wages stay the same, America is becoming more and more hostile to working people hoping to start a family,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez said about the proposal, which she and Councilman David Ryu introduced January. “Paid parental leave settles the score for working families and finally brings the Los Angeles economy in line with the rest of the developed world.”

For now, Los Angeles Mike Feuer’s office will draft an ordinance for approval, while city staff prepares an economic analysis of the proposal.

California is one of the few states, along with New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, to have such a program. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a six-month paid family leave policy, but the idea is still in the early stages.

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