WorkLife Law Staff Attorney Juliana Franco shared her expertise with the California Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee on steps the California Employment Development Department (EDD) could take to improve access to paid leave. Last year, California passed a bill to increase the wage replacement rate for the State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave programs in 2025, making it more affordable for all workers to take the leave they need to bond with a new child, to care for a seriously ill family member, or for their own health. Now in the implementation stage, Juliana’s testimony addressed current barriers hindering access for low-wage and undocumented workers that the EDD should consider as the agency transitions to a new benefits system.
Juliana runs Dar a Luz, a collaborative initiative between WorkLife Law and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, providing pregnant and lactating farmworkers support to access paid leave and other workplace rights. Through farmworker and health care provider advisory committees, Dar a Luz has identified the administrative barriers people face in accessing benefits. Juliana offered specific guidance to ensure the new system allows all workers, especially non-English speaking and undocumented people, to access the support they have a right to receive.