Senate Bill (SB) 951: Affordable Paid Leave for All
September 26, 2022
Dear Governor Newsom,
I write on behalf of the UnidosUS Action Fund, a Latino advocacy organization committed to building political power among the 62.1 million Latinos in the U.S., including the over 15 million Latino who live in the state, 5 million of which make up almost a third of voters in California. We urge you to sign Senate Bill (SB) 951: Affordable Paid Leave for All into law and ensure that millions of the state’s hard-working Latino residents are afforded equitable access to paid leave.
Latinas’ economic power in California has not resulted in comparable economic prosperity—a gap that is clearly shaping Latina voters’ priorities. As of 2020, Latinos make up more than a quarter of California’s labor force. Yet, 60% of the state’s Latinas with a new baby are living in poverty. Latinas are more likely to work in low-wage occupations which are associated with critically low rates of access to paid family and medical leave. What’s more, although Latinas must contend with pay gaps in all types of employment, the largest gaps are concentrated in low-wage occupations like child care workers, janitorial services, and housekeeping.
It is no surprise that Latinos in California consistently identify jobs and the economy as priority issues they believe elected officials should address. New polling by UnidosUS and Mi Familia Vota found that's sweeping 88% of Latinos in California believe that the government has an important role to play in making sure there is equal access to opportunity. This belief is shared by 86% of Latinos nationwide.
SB 951, which would increase wage replacement rates for paid family leave and state disability insurance to 90% (compared to the current 60%) for lower-wage workers by January 1, 2025, represent an exceptional opportunity to meet Latinas where they are. It is a smart, family friendly policy that not only ensures the economic well-being of a driving force of the California economy but puts the state on a path to economic prosperity. Before the pandemic, the number of Latinas in the U.S. labor force was projected to grow by 25.8% in the next ten years, almost nine-fold the projected growth of white women in the labor market. In the pandemic’s first year, the number of Latinas in the workforce dropped by 2.74%---the biggest drop of labor force size of any other demographic group. Since then, Latinas’ labor market recovery has been shaky as many involuntarily leave the market to care for their homes.
Still, Latinas remain a formidable part of California’s labor market. Even when many hard-working Latinas in low-wage occupations contribute earnestly to the paid family and medical leave fund in the state, they cannot afford to partake in this benefit with only 60% of their earnings. The passing of SB 951 would represent an overdue public investment in the driving force of California’s labor market. We urge you to sign SB 951 into law, fortifying a family-friendly investment that 90% of Latinas nationwide support.
UnidosUS Action Fund/UnidosUS PAC
The UnidosUS Action Fund works to expand the influence and political power of the Latino community through civic engagement and accountability.