SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A bill that would give teachers fully-paid maternity leave is on its way to the governor’s desk. It passed the state assembly the day after a CBS13 investigation.

The bill, AB 500, has now passed the senate and is one signature away from becoming law. While paid family leave is a marquee issue for Governor Newsom, supporters of the bill say they worry he may not sign it.

Under the bill, school districts would pay a teacher’s full salary for the first six to eight week disability period after having a baby.

Currently, teachers have to use up all sick and vacation time, then pay the difference between their salary and their substitute’s.

The same bill passed once before, but then-governor Jerry Brown vetoed it, saying the issue was best resolved through union collective bargaining.

READ: Many Public Employees Not Eligible For Paid Family Leave

When we raised the issue with Governor Newsom earlier this year, he also pointed to bargaining.

Opponents of the bill, school districts and administrators, cite the cost and complexity of a paid leave program. Supporters point to a teacher shortage and say the current law discriminates against female teachers by making them use up vacation, sick time, and go without pay in order to have a baby with no time left for when they’re actually sick.

As our investigation revealed, teachers aren’t alone. There are nearly 100,000 public employees who are not currently entitled to paid family leave.

The Governor’s office has not responded to our requests for an update on the issue, so it’s still not clear when or if he will sign this bill. Or if a plan is in the works for other public employees.

Julie Watts

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