FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Public school employees, from janitors at elementary schools to community college faculty, are now all eligible for some extra money when they take time off for a new child.
The weeks after childbirth are an emotional roller coaster for new mothers and father, and for some families, a financial one as well. A new bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown Friday helps parents who work in education avoid the money worries.
It requires up to 12 weeks of differential pay for everyone who works on a school campus from kindergarten through community college and from the bus driver to teachers. But it's not necessarily full pay, just the difference between the employee's salary and that of their replacement.
"It doesn't put a burden on the school districts and the community colleges because it's differential pay," San Jose assembly member Nora Campos said.
It's kind of a complicated law so we explained it to a few people in North Fresno and then we asked their opinion. Adam Arrigoni is two months away from being a parent, and since his wife works at a school, he's already familiar with the law.
"Working through financials, we're used to making two incomes so one of us getting paid that differential pay really helps so it was kind of a blessing when we started to look into it," Arrigoni said. "We didn't realize how much you have to pay to have someone watch a kid."
But the law doesn't require full pay for the full 12 weeks, so it may not work for some families.
"It seems like a low amount but when you're a new parent or depending on the number of kids you have, anything helps," Jordon Sawyer of Fresno said.
Campos pushed the parental leave expansion, pointing to parental leave as a factor in improved test scores, behavior, and immunizations for the kids.
"There are studies that show if a parent has the ability to bond with their child, they will do much better in school," she explained. "They'll be on the right path because that bonding is so crucial to the development of a child."
And for the parents, extra leave can alleviate money misery and some psychologists say it even helps avoid postpartum depression.