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Board registers support for pregnancy-leave bill

A content pregnant woman sitting, cradling her belly, next to a potted plant indoors.

The Teachers' Retirement Board took a support position on Assembly Bill 2901 (Aguiar-Curry), which would provide for up to 14 weeks of fully paid leave for California public school employees for pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, termination of pregnancy or recovery from those conditions.

The board based its endorsement of AB 2901 on its policy to support legislation that reduces inequities or deficiencies in plan design.

Historical data shows that when they retire, female CalSTRS members receive lower benefits on average than their male counterparts. Among the reasons: Female members generally have less service credit and less unused sick leave available to convert to additional service credit at retirement. More service credit can lead to slightly increased pension payments.

One contributing factor to this inequity is that female CalSTRS members must take sick leave for pregnancy-related issues. This bill could help alleviate the service credit inequity if female members no longer have to exhaust their sick leave for pregnancy leave.

By bringing pregnancy-related leave benefits for California’s public educators more in line with leave benefits of other California workers, this bill could encourage more women to become educators or to remain in the profession after having children, thereby helping schools retain experienced staff and providing relief to persistent teacher shortages.