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Governor Newsom Signs Legislation Allowing Child Care Providers the Right to Unionize

The Governor has also signed a series of early childhood bills, including: AB 1004, AB 406, SB 234 and AB 220

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed AB 378 by Assemblymember Monique Limόn (D-Santa Barbara) giving child care workers the right to join a union and collectively bargain with the state. This legislation will allow an estimated 40,000 child care workers who provide care in home settings to join care providers in 11 other states who are able to negotiate with the state for improvements to the early childhood education system.

“Child care providers help our economy by allowing working families and parents to report to work,” said Governor Newsom. “Creating quality jobs for the child care workforce makes economic and common sense. These workers care for our kids – we need to take care of them.”

Surrounded by children, Governor Newsom signs child care worker legislation.

Governor Newsom signs child care worker legislation.

Family child care is the early care and education setting of choice for many families. The flexibility offered by many family child care providers is particularly vital to low-wage workers who are subject to highly unpredictable work schedules, and to the many California workers who work nontraditional hours and need child care during evenings, overnights, and weekends.

AB 378 covers licensed family child care and license-exempt providers who are caring for a child receiving a child care subsidy. Efforts to allow child care workers to unionize in California began in 2004. With this legislation, the state is stepping in, allowing workers who are currently exempt from the National Labor Relations Act to bargain on key issues with the state, including reimbursement rates and payment procedures.

“AB 378 will create stability in California’s early care and education workforce,” said Assemblymember Limόn. “California runs a 24-hour-a-day workforce, but our child care options for working families do not meet that need, nor support those who provide child care. This bill will change that.”

Family child care providers currently lack a method to collectively engage in matters that affect the manner in which they carry out their profession. Creating a framework for family child care providers to collectively engage with these issues can help improve the environment in which they work and the benefits and funding they receive. These improvements will in turn benefit the children under their care.

The 2019-2020 state budget includes support for the early learning workforce to get additional education, training and professional development, expand their child care facilities, and begin data collection for the unionization process. In addition, this year’s budget makes historic investments that support young children and their families.

The 2019-2020 state budget includes a $2.3 billion increase for early childhood programs and supports, including:

  • $195 million for education/training grants and other supports for the early learning and care workforce
  • $263 million for early learning and care facilities (includes centers and family child care homes)
  • $143.3 million to increase access to subsidized child care for approximately 12,400 income eligible children ages 0-12,
  • $31.4 million ($124.9 million ongoing) to increase access to State Preschool for 10,000 income-eligible children in community-based organizations, and expand eligibility to all families in school attendance areas where at least 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  • $5 million to develop a Master Plan for Early Learning and Care
  • $2.2 million to improve child care quality
  • Two weeks of additional Paid Family Leave (PFL) and taskforce to consider options to achieve six months of paid parental leave to increase ability of parents to support early health and development and to decrease the need for reliance on expensive infant child care
  • $53.9 million for developmental screenings of infants and toddlers at 9, 18, and 30 months
  • $40.8 million for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) screenings of young children and adults receiving Medi-Cal
  • $135.5 for voluntary CalWORKs and other Home Visiting Programs
  • $19.4 million for Black Infant Health to improve African-American maternal and infant health

The Governor also signed the following early childhood bills into law:

AB 1004 (McCarty) – Requires improved data collection by the Department of Health Care Services and Medi-Cal Managed Health Care plans to help ensure that children are receiving developmental screenings in the first three years of life.

AB 406 (Limόn) – Requires by January 1, 2025 the translation of the paid family leave benefits application into languages spoken by a substantial number of applicants.

AB 220 (Bonta) – Permits candidates to use campaign funds for child care expenses incurred while the candidate is engaging in campaign activities, which can encourage more parents to run for office.

SB 234 (Skinner) – Signed by the Governor earlier this month, prohibits local governments from requiring large family child care homes to have a business license or from charging related taxes or permit fees.