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CA "Dadvocates" to Press Congress on Paid Family Leave

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The Skaggs family of Rancho Cucamonga had to get by without paid family leave when their daughter and newborn son became gravely ill. (Rob Skaggs)
The Skaggs family of Rancho Cucamonga had to get by without paid family leave when their daughter and newborn son became gravely ill. (Rob Skaggs)
 By Suzanne Potter - Producer, Contact
October 22, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A group of "dadvocates" from California and around the country will converge on Washington, D.C., today, meeting with lawmakers to press for federal paid family leave.

As things stand, when a child is born or a family member is sick, in most states companies do not have to grant extended paid time off. Robert Skaggs, from Rancho Cucamonga, has four children, including a young daughter fighting cancer and an infant son with heart defects. He said parents MUST be able to afford to spend those critical weeks with their loved ones.

"That time of transition is absolutely critical for a parent to be there - fathers and mothers,” Skaggs said. “There's no substitute for your presence."

Skaggs said his employer allowed him unpaid time off.

While in the nation's capital, the group will deliver petitions with 36,000 signatures asking Congress to make family-leave legislation a priority. California is one of seven states to offer partial salary replacement with paid family leave - but millions, including those working in the gig economy, are not eligible.

Salvador Guillermo is a father of two from the City of Orange who works as an independent contractor, so he was not able to take advantage of the state family-leave program and ended up taking time off unpaid.

"I wouldn't want anybody else to go through what I went through as far as not being able to pay your bills, not having that income coming because you chose to be with your family,” Guillermo said.

Nationwide, 114 million people have no access to paid family leave. Out of 193 countries in the United Nations, only a small handful do not have a national paid parental leave law: New Guinea, Suriname, a few South Pacific island nations and the United States.

Disclosure: Paid Leave for the U.S. (PL+US) contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Family/Father Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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