SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Tuesday expanding California’s Paid Family Leave Program to include workers who take time off to care for seriously ill grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws.

Since 2002, Californians have been able to collect 55% of their pay for six weeks when they need time off to care for a seriously ill spouse, partner, parent or child. Now that list has been expanded as proponents of the bill claim that it more accurately reflects the broad range of people who have care giving responsibilities.

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“This is a tremendous victory for California families. I think one of the things that we recognize is that California families today are really interdependent on one another, so we have families who are grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren, where siblings are looking out for each other, where people are helping their in-laws” Ann O’Leary, vice-president and director of the Children and Families Program at the think tank Next Generation, said. “Until today you didn’t have the ability to take time off and be paid for it if somebody fell ill.”

The California Paid Family Leave Program allows eligible employees to take up to six weeks of partially paid leave from their jobs each year. It is funded by employee payroll deductions.

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“It’s allowing workers to access something they have already paid into,” O’Leary said.

The bill will become law on July 1, 2014.

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