California Paid Family Leave

Quick Summary

Paid Family Leave means California is the first state to offer wage benefits for employees who take time off from their jobs to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition. The California law, knows as Paid Family Leave, creates a Family Temporary Disability Insurance program within the State Disability Insurance program. Employees may receive partial reimbursement of their pay for up to six weeks during any 12-month period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Effective Dates

January 1, 2004 - California employees will have an increase in the amount they pay to the SDI fund. The amount paid includes the new FTDI tax and an increased SDI tax.

July 1, 2004 - Benefits for qualifying absences start to be paid.

Which Employers are Affected?

All employers with one or more employees.

Some employers are exempt, mainly state and local government employees, because they do not pay into the SDI program.

The self-employed are only eligible if they pay into the SDI program.

How Long can Employees Receive Paid Family Leave Benefits?

6 weeks in a 12-month period is permitted by the Paid Family Leave law.

Must the Paid Family Leave Time-Off be Taken All at Once??

No. There is no minimum number of days or hours that an employee must take off.

Is there a Waiting Period Before an Employee is Eligible for Benefits?

No. An employee is entitled to Paid Family Leave benefits immediately upon being employed. There is no requirement that an employee be employed for 6 months, 1 year, or any other period of time before being eligible for FTDI benefits.

However, there is a one-week waiting period before the worker can apply for benefits. This means an employee must be off work for 8 days before they receive benefits.

Also, an employer can require that an employee take up to two-weeks of paid vacation before receiving FTDI benefits.

For What Reasons can an Employee Receive Benefits?

Any employee who is unable to work due to:
  • Their own sickness or injury
  • The sickness or injury of a family member (child, spouse, parent, or domestic partner)
  • The birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child (the employee's child, their spouse's child, or domestic partner's child)

Are Employers Required to Have Paid Family Leave Forms Available?


What is the Relationship Between FTDI and FLMA and CFRA?

The FMLA and CFRA are federal and state leave laws, respectively, that allow workers to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave from their jobs in a 12-month period to care for themselves or family members who are ill, or children who are unable to take care of themselves. Paid Family Leave insurance does not change either law in any way and is completely separate from them. It merely provides up to six (6) weeks of paid benefits to workers who suffer a wage loss when they take time off work to care for others.

How Much are the Benefits?

For Paid Family Leave insurance claims beginning July 1, 2004, through December 31, 2004, weekly benefits will range from $50 to $728. To qualify for the minimum weekly amount ($50), an individual must have at least $300 in wages in the base period. To qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount ($728), an individual must earn at least $17,183.65 in a calendar quarter during the base period.

For Paid Family Leave insurance claims beginning January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005, weekly benefits will range from $50 to $840. The same minimum qualification applies. To qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount ($840) an individual must earn at least $19,830.92 in a calendar quarter during the base period.

The weekly benefit amount will be approximately 55 percent of an employee's earnings up to the maximum weekly benefit amount.

More Information is Available with a Premium Subscription

  • Text of California's Paid Family Leave Statutes

  • Notices to Distribute to Employees

  • Frequently Asked Questions:
    Are Part-Time Employees Eligible to Receive Benefits?

    Does Family Leave Replace Vacation Pay?

    Can Employees Receive Paid Family Leave and other Benefits at the Same Time?

    Does Paid Family Leave Affect Sick Leave?

    If an Employee Does Not Have Accrued Vacation, Can the Employer Require that the Employee First Exhaust Available Sick Pay?

    Must an Employee Provide Documentation Showing Entitlement to Benefits?

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