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A small part of almost every paycheck in California goes into the state’s paid family leave program, which allows workers to receive partial pay when they take time off to care for a new child or sick family member.

But many people don’t take leave because the law doesn’t ensure they can go back to their job afterward. That’s changing.

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, roughly 6 million additional Californians will be able to take family leave with the guarantee that they can come back to their jobs when it’s done.

The new law, by Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, extends job protections once reserved for employees of large companies to most workers in California.

That should make it easier for workers to take time off that they’re already paying for.

The California Chamber of Commerce and trade groups argued the new protections would make it harder for small businesses to operate, and could expose companies to more lawsuits.

But supporters, including advocates for women, children and workers, say people should be able to take care of their families without fear of losing their jobs.

California’s new paid family leave law is part of what Gov. Gavin Newsom calls his “parents’ agenda,” which he hopes eventually will permit every baby to be cared for by a family member for the first six months of life.

Fewer laws than usual will take effect in 2021, given that the coronavirus pandemic shortened and dominated the Legislature’s 2020 session. Here’s a playlist of nine of the most notable new California laws, each explained in a minute.

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Nick Roberts is a journalist and video producer based in the Bay Area. His work has been published by The New York Times, PBS Frontline, Oregon Public Broadcasting, among others. He holds a master’s...

Laurel covers California politics for CalMatters, with a focus on power and personalities in the state Capitol. In 2020, she was included in the Washington Post’s list of outstanding state politics reporters....