San Diego

Supporters Disappointed After Paid Family Leave Dropped From Spending Bill

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When it comes to caring for a new baby, getting through those first few weeks can take a village.

"It was really valuable to have my husband home for all the things that go on," said San Diego mother Megan Shaull. "You just don't have any clue as to what's going to go on.”

Megan Shaull and her husband Brian still remember what the first few days following the birth of both their kids were like.

"Just having the time off to hold her, change diapers, connect with her, not having the stress of running back and forth to work, it was great,” Brian Shaull said.

Without paid family leave provided from the state, the Shaull's say they would’ve been lost.

"When you have a baby and you're working at the same time, it's like work is still going on in your brain because you have to take care of things the next day and you don't get that bonding [with your baby,]” Megan Shaull said.

Here in California, parents can receive up to eight weeks of paid family leave within any 12-month period for care, bonding, or military assistance claims. People can receive about 60-70% of their weekly salary.

But not everyone across the U.S. gets the same.

"It's a model for the rest of the country," said Jenya Cassidy, executive director at California Work and Family Coalition. "It's something we really want everybody to have."

President Biden originally proposed 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave in his social safety net package. It was then reduced down to four weeks, and then completely eliminated.

The exclusion leaves the U.S. as one of just six countries without any form of national paid leave and one of eight without national maternity leave, according to data from the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA.

"Having a really strong national bill could really help us strengthen our bill," said Cassidy. "And also, you know, we're just not isolated in California, we have family and friends all over the country.”

For now, a national bill remains on hold. Cassidy expects the push for a national policy will continue but it remains to be seen how supporters will regroup after this setback.

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