Capitol Alert

Brown vetoes extended paid maternity leave for teachers

Christian Mattes, 15, center, explains to his teacher Leslie Peoples how he came up with an answer to a geometry problem at Mesa Verde High School on May 23, 2016.
Christian Mattes, 15, center, explains to his teacher Leslie Peoples how he came up with an answer to a geometry problem at Mesa Verde High School on May 23, 2016. The Sacramento Bee file

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed Assembly Bill 568 that would have granted teachers and other academic employees of California school districts, charter schools and community colleges at least six weeks of paid leave before or after giving birth.

Many teachers do not currently receive paid maternity leave because they do not participate in the state’s worker-funded disability insurance program, though there are significant exceptions like the Los Angeles Unified School District. Without that guaranteed family leave, employees exhaust their accrued sick time, then take whatever money is left after their salary is used to pay a substitute.

Supporters of AB 568, 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 burden of covering additional wages when their budgets are already constrained by other financial obligations.

Brown, in his veto message, said school districts and teacher unions should work it out in contract bargaining, and encouraged both sides to have teachers participate in the disability insurance program.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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