Capitol Alert

Most California teachers don’t get paid maternity leave. That could soon change

Teacher's aide Heidi Ochoa teaches preschool students at Natomas Park Elementary School in Sacramento on Oct. 4, 2016.
Teacher's aide Heidi Ochoa teaches preschool students at Natomas Park Elementary School in Sacramento on Oct. 4, 2016. The Sacramento Bee file

California teachers, who often must scrape together sick days to take time off when they get pregnant, could soon receive maternity leave for the first time.

Assembly Bill 568, which received final legislative approval Monday afternoon and is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown, would require school districts, charter schools and community colleges to provide at least six weeks of paid leave to academic employees before or after giving birth.

Supporters, such as teachers unions and author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, argue the measure would help address a teacher shortage crisis in California by providing a benefit that makes the job more accessible to women who start a family.

School and college administrators raised concerns about the financial burden of covering additional wages. Most teachers do not currently receive paid maternity leave because they do not participate in the state’s worker-funded disability insurance program, which includes family leave.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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