[ONLINE] - Celebrating California’s First-In-The-Nation Paid Leave Program

20 Years After Enactment, Millions of Leaves for Workers and Benefits for California’s Families, Businesses and Communities

Note: This event is being held at 12:00-2:00 PM PDT/3:00-5:00 PM EDT.

Twenty years ago, California became the first state in the country to pass a paid family leave program. California’s paid family leave program has helped tens of millions of Californians and set the stage for additional state and federal progress. It’s meant that more parents could see their baby’s first smile and more loved ones could hold the hand of a dying parent or a loved one going through cancer treatments. 

This virtual celebration event will feature workers, business owners, policymakers, advocates and researchers to reflect on the program’s success, lessons learned and implications for the future in California and beyond. It will highlight the transformational difference California’s paid leave program makes in the lives of workers and the functioning of businesses - and the importance of the improvements made to the program over time to make paid leave more equitable and accessible for a greater share of the workforce.



  • Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow for Paid Leave Policy & Strategy, New America’s Better Life Lab

California Paid Leave at 20: Appreciation


Panel 1: Celebrating Legislative Leadership and Progress

  • The Honorable Jimmy Gomez, U.S. House of Representatives, California District 34
  • The Honorable Hannah-Beth Jackson, former member of the California State Senate, District 19
  • Jennifer Richard, Chief of Staff to the Honorable María Elena Durazo
  • Moderator: Eleanor Mueller, Labor Reporter, Politico

Panel 2: Research-Based Lessons from California’s Historic Paid Leave Program

  • William Dow, Ph.D., Professor of Health Policy and Management, University of California Berkeley School of Public Health
  • Dr. Henry C. Lee, Neonatal-Perinatal Clinician, Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University.
  • Jeff Bellisario, Executive Director, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Maya Rossin-Slater, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Pamela Winston, Ph.D., Office of Human Services Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Douglas Wolf, Ph.D., Professor, Public Administration, and Gerald B Cramer Professor of Aging Studies, Syracuse University
  • Moderator: Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow for Paid Leave Policy & Strategy, New America’s Better Life Lab


  • Amber Parrish Baur, Executive Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Western States Council

Panel 3: Paid Leave in Practice for Workers, Families and Businesses

  • Donna Benton, Ph.D., President, Association of California Caregiver Resource Centers
  • Mary Ignatius, Parent Voices Statewide Organizer
  • Jenna Johnson, President, Patagonia, Inc.
  • Jerry Sandoval, Member of Parent Voices and the California Work & Family Coalition
  • Kirk Vartan, Co-owner/Founder, A Slice of New York, and Small Business Majority network member
  • Moderator: Sharon Terman, Director of Work and Family Program and Senior Staff Attorney at Legal Aid at Work

Closing Remarks

Additional speakers to be announced.

This is a co-sponsored event with:

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