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Assembly Majority Leader Aguiar-Curry’s Pregnancy Leave for Educators Act Passes Assembly Education Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D- Winters) announced today that her Assembly Bill 2901 passed the Assembly Education Committee. This landmark legislation will grant public school employees up to 14 weeks of leave with full pay for pregnancies and pregnancy-related health issues.

Under current state law, educators do not earn any paid pregnancy leave. If an educator who experiences pregnancy or pregnancy-related complications needs more time than the standard six weeks of leave, they must begin to use up their accrued sick leave.  The lack of paid disability leave contributes to problems with retaining educators in the workforce, as many educators are forced to leave the profession when they become pregnant and often do not return. This compounds significant challenges to educator recruitment and retention.  In an environment where California schools are having widespread difficulty hiring attracting, and retaining educators due in part to low pay, high housing costs, and other rising costs of living, penalizing women educators with a “gender penalty” in their retirement does not help.

Educators who have exhausted their sick leave due to pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from those conditions are at a huge disadvantage – on average, women educators earn almost $100,000 less in retirement than their male colleagues.

 “The current leave system forces educators to deplete their sick leave and pay for their own substitute in order to start a family.  This is shocking and inequitable practice that puts women at a massive financial disadvantage,” said Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “AB 2901 will create more equity in the education workforce and give educators the necessary time off to care for themselves and their child as we ask them to give so much to care for ours.  It’s time to stop asking them to sacrifice their financial security, the health of their families, and the health of their school communities in order to do their critical jobs.”

"By providing paid pregnancy leave for California's educators, AB 2901 represents an important step forward to address the gender wage gap for teachers, the majority of whom are women. When teachers are able to start and grow families with pay and without penalty, we will be more likely to retain career educators and stabilize the education workforce,” said Tony Thurmond, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This is an issue of economic justice for our teachers that has the power to retain incredible educators for our students."

“Many teachers face a tough choice between starting a family and meeting their financial obligations. As the child of a high school art teacher, I witnessed firsthand the difficulties. This legislation brings fairness to the teaching field and tackles the retirement disparity for female educators, stated Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer.  

“This historic legislation will fix a broken system for public school educators who go without any paid leave related to pregnancy. This disproportionately harms women as they are required to deplete their sick leave balances and creates a massive gap for women educators in retirement,” said Erika Jones, California Teachers Union Secretary-Treasurer. “We are pleased to hear that the assembly education committee heard educators and voted yes on this legislation. The 310,000 educators in the California Teachers Union urge other legislators to do the same. The Time is Now. We must correct this discriminatory practice.”

AB 2901 will finally end the discriminatory practice of giving employees who are pregnant no choice but to deplete their sick leave. This bill gives educators the time they deserve for pregnancy and matches the International Labor Organization’s recommendation of 14 weeks for maternity leave. Further, the bill aligns with the goals of the Paid Family Leave Task Force convened by Gov. Newsom in 2019 by increasing leave access, providing better job protections, and expanding the length of coverage for a critical segment of California’s workers.


Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Colusa, Napa, and Yolo Counties, and part of Sonoma County.