New California law to expand job-protected maternity leave

Subsidies for Diapers, Expanded Family Leave and Free Tampons in Schools Coming to California After Gov. Brown Signs Bills

Calif. parental leave expanded for parents to bond with newborns

The 26-member legislative Women's Caucus championed the nine bills aimed at improving the lives of California women and families, with several focusing on victims of domestic violence.

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California will extend workplace protections to 2.7 million more people, who now will be able to take 12 weeks of parental leave without fear of losing their job. Other bills give diaper subsides to parents in the welfare-to-work program, require schools with low-income students to provide free tampons and pads in campus bathrooms and bar employers from asking salary history of prospective workers in an effort to end a cycle of underpaying women.

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Another requires small businesses that employ between 20 and 49 people to provide for up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave. Existing state law only imposes that requires for larger companies. That builds on a 2015 law signed by Brown making it easier for women to push for equal pay.

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It had the support of dozens of early-education groups, work and family organizations, health organizations, labor and other advocacy groups who understood the value of family leave for promoting the health and well-being of parents, workers, children and families, Jackson's office reports. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, chair of the Women's Caucus, has dubbed herself the "tampon queen" in her fight for the bill. Brown vetoed a similar measure by Jackson past year.

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