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Papan Legislation to Remove Unfair Barriers to Paid Family Leave Benefits Approved by Assembly Committee on Insurance

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Today, Assembly Bill 2123, a crucial piece of legislation that will eliminate unnecessary obstacles for individuals seeking access to their paid family leave (PFL) benefits authored by Assemblymember Diane Papan, was approved by the Assembly Committee on Insurance. Assembly Bill 2123 will remove the provision that requires employees to use two weeks of accrued vacation before accessing PFL benefits.

"The current system forces workers into an unfair dilemma between personal and professional responsibilities. AB 2123 aims to support the dignity workers deserve by allowing them to manage both aspects of their lives without unnecessary sacrifices," said Assemblymember Papan.

Over two decades ago, California pioneered the Paid Family Leave program, providing workers with partial wage replacement during their leave to care for family members under specific circumstances. The state has continually expanded the program over the years, recognizing a broader range of family relationships and extending benefits from 6 to 8 weeks per year. In 2022, the Legislature further enhanced the program with SB 951, ensuring low-to-middle income workers receive 90% of their regular wages through PFL, effective 2025.

Despite these advancements, workers still face barriers in accessing benefits they contribute to. Currently, employers can compel employees to use two weeks of their accrued vacation leave before accessing PFL benefits. This practice, however, contradicts the purpose of the program, as PFL benefits are entirely funded by employees' contributions from their own paychecks.

Assemblymember Papan's AB 2123 seeks to rectify this issue by eliminating the requirement for employees to exhaust their vacation time before accessing PFL benefits. This commonsense improvement ensures that workers do not have to choose between their hard-earned and precious vacation time and caring for their loved ones during times of need.

By removing this provision, AB 2123 protects California families, particularly those living paycheck to paycheck, from being compelled to use up their Paid Time Off (PTO) to access essential PFL benefits. These updates will allow workers to receive the support they need without imposing additional burdens on California employers.

Assembly Bill 2123 will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations in the coming weeks.