Coalition of Teachers, Elected Leaders, and Allies Announce Landmark Legislation for Paid Pregnancy Leave for School Employees

SACRAMENTO – On Monday, Feb. 26 at 11 am, on the west steps of the Capitol, educators and union members of the California Teachers Association announced historic legislation – Pregnancy Leave for Educators Act, AB2901, authored by Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry and coauthored by members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus including Assembly Members Cervantes, Bonta, Ortega, Quirk-Silva, Schiavo, and Senator Durazo. The legislation is also co-sponsored by the California State Treasurer, Fiona Ma, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond. The press conference was livestreamed.

The Pregnancy Leave for Educators Act, AB 2901, will fix a broken system for public school educators who go without any paid disability leave related to pregnancy. In California – the fifth largest economy in the world – one of the largest and predominantly female workforces in the state are excluded from pregnancy disability leave. This longstanding practice disproportionately discriminates against women educators who are forced to deplete their leave balances to have children. On average, women earn almost $100,000 less in retirement than their male colleagues. This legislation will help address this massive gap for women educators in retirement and help retain educators during a historic educator shortage.

“As a new mom, physically recovering from pregnancy and birth while also caring for a newborn, it is unfathomable that most of us must consider whether or not we are going to get paid. Educators devote their lives to their students; yet, when it comes to their own families, they have to constantly sacrifice because of the lack of basic supports such as paid pregnancy leave. In a field that is primarily women, we need to do better,” said Erika Jones, a kindergarten teacher and the Secretary-Treasurer of CTA. “This bill will bring California into alignment with a worldwide, fundamental standard for reproductive rights in countries across the globe. The predominantly female workforce of our public schools deserves no less. This historic legislation will help build a stronger, better, public school system that benefits all Californians. Educators urge the Legislature to pass this important and long overdue measure.”

“Teachers must be able to afford to stay in the profession and start a family. By providing paid pregnancy leave for California’s teachers, we will take an important step toward achieving gender equity in teacher pay, and we will also make critical strides toward retaining great teachers to address the staffing crisis in California’s classrooms,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

“As the daughter of a teacher and board member of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, I know how valuable our educators are and the sacrifices they make to do what they love,” said State Treasurer Fiona Ma. “They shouldn’t have to choose between their careers and starting a family. California’s economic future is dependent on the next generation of big thinkers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. All of them will be the product of great teachers. AB 2901 will help California recruit and retain the very best.”

“As Vice Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and as a mother and grandmother, I am proud to author AB 2901, the Pregnancy Leave for Educators Act. At a time when our educators are leaving this vital profession due to the pressures of the pandemic, and college students seek other paths for their careers, we can leave no stone unturned in our efforts to treat our teachers with sensitivity and respect,” said Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). ”70% of teachers are women, and we now see that the women in the teaching ranks will receive nearly $100,000 less than their male counterparts in their retirement. AB 2901 will help to attract and retain educators. But, more importantly, it will grant the basic human right to care for your child to people who we count on to care for our children and grandchildren.”


The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.