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Unfinished BusinessPaid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy$
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Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452383

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452383.001.0001

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The Case for Paid Family Leave

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Unfinished Business

Ruth Milkman

Eileen Appelbaum

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of California's paid family leave (PFL) program. Since 1993, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has guaranteed unpaid job-protected leaves for new parents of up to twelve weeks. However, it makes such leaves available to only about half of the U.S. labor force, and even those who are covered often cannot afford to take unpaid leaves. As a result, millions of American workers are regularly forced to choose between economic security and providing vital care for their families. California made history on September 23, 2002, when Governor Gray Davis signed a bill creating the nation's first comprehensive paid family leave program. California's PFL program provides up to six weeks of partial wage replacement for eligible workers who take time off to bond with a new child or to care for a seriously ill family member.

Keywords:   California, PFL program, paid family leave, Family and Medical Leave Act, U.S. labor force, unpaid leaves, economic security

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