California May Extend Family Leave To In-Laws

From Scripps-McClatchy Western Service

California soon could become the first state where workers are paid for leaving their job to care for a seriously ill mother-in-law.

Or father-in-law.

Or brother, sister, grandparent or grandchild.

Pending legislation would expand a 3-year-old, state-run program that provides temporary pay for bonding with a new child or caring for an ill parent, child, spouse or domestic partner.

Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Santa Monica Democrat who proposed the new measure, Senate Bill 727, said it would create flexibility to help most families respond to health emergencies.

California's current paid family leave program excludes too many people in a state of 37 million people, where it is not uncommon for extended family members to live together, Kuehl said.

"It was sort of artificial to say that if you happen to have a parent to take care of you, that's fine, but if you happen to only have your brother or sister, they can't take time off," Kuehl said.

Carina Barlow, 42, of Vallejo said she could benefit from SB 727 some day.

Tango’s Take
This is an interesting resolution. Most Americans live near where they grew up, so it stands to reason that they would have relatives nearby. This resolution has a great chance of being abused, however. It’s a little difficult to build ‘common sense’ clauses into a law like this. It wasn’t that long ago that fathers didn’t get any time off for births, now this. Yes, it’s reasonable to be able to help out mother-in-law if she’s severely ill. It’s not reasonable to miss work because your sister’s new baby is so cute that you can’t stand being away from her.

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