SACRAMENTO – The multi-year advocacy of California Faculty Association members to close a long-term equity gap for parents at the California State University continues this legislative session.
Thank you to Assemblymember Dawn Addis for authoring Assembly Bill 1123, which would require the CSU to provide one semester of paid parental leave for workers following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. It’s an issue that disproportionately affects women/women-identified faculty (tenure-line, lecturers, librarians, counselors, coaches), and may also contribute to difficulties with attracting/retaining employees of color in the CSU.
By refusing CFA’s attempts to correct this systemic inequity, CSU management is reinforcing a long-term equity gap in which the careers of early career faculty, women/women-identified faculty (tenure-line, lecturers, librarians, counselors, coaches), and other employees are sidetracked.
“A full semester of paid parental leave is essential for course continuity for students, and for career support and retention of the CSU’s diverse faculty, especially women,” said Frances Mercer, associate professor of molecular immunology at Cal Poly Pomona and a member of CFA’s Parents and Caregivers Coalition. “The CSU can no longer claim that their parental leave policy is competitive, when it is far shorter than leave at UC and many private colleges in California. The current suggestion to supplement our short-paid leave policy with unpaid leave options ignores the current economic reality in California, especially for first-time homeowners who are also trying to start families.
“The State’s largest University system is ready for a family leave policy in line with California values.”
“CSU faculty and employees play a critical role in our state by educating and supporting California’s future,” said Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay). “Ensuring that they have the right to paid parental leave is long overdue. AB 1123 affirms and solidifies California’s commitment to supporting parents and the well-being of families.”
CFA members have organized for better paid parental leave and support for years, beginning before the pandemic. Then, in February 2021, more than 400 members attended CFA’s COVID-19 relief townhall calling on the CSU administration to provide desperately needed relief for those struggling with working from home while also parenting and caregiving during the pandemic’s shelter-in-place conditions.
To help alleviate the stress, planning, financial strain, and disparate impact on women/women-identified and faculty of color, CFA’s Bargaining Team proposed extending parental leave to one semester or two terms during 2021’s contract negotiations. Unfortunately, the CSU bargaining team chose to cling to an antiquated leave policy and refused any changes. Part of CFA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement requires a stakeholder group to continue working toward better support for parents, but this working group has produced only recommendations, not the substantive change that faculty need.
Last year, Governor Newsom vetoed CFA-sponsored Assembly Bill 2464 in hopes that the working group might achieve results. Our message to the Governor is simple, remember your own words from four years ago: “Expanding paid family leave will mean a better life for our kids, our workers, our economy, and our future.” We’re committed to expanding paid parental leave at CFA. We hope you and the Legislature are committed to getting this much needed bill passed and signed into law.
CFA members are available for interview; CFA Contacts:
Michelle Hatfield: 916-612-8779; Filiberto Nolasco Gomez: 916-502-0023; Kody Leibowitz: 916-947-6258; Lisa Cohen: 310-395-2544
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents more than 29,000 tenure-line instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches on the 23 campuses of the California State University system, from Cal Poly Humboldt in the north, to San Diego State in the south. Learn more about CFA at calfac.org and visit our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.