A new California law put into effect earlier this year, made it so employers must provide job projected family leave if they support 20 or more employees. This is a change from the minimum of 50 employees. California Paid Family Leave, also referred to as PFL, is a state program that provides up to 6 weeks of partial pay to employees who take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member (child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner) or to bond with a new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement. In continuity with this, since January 1, 2018, Assembly Bill 908 (Chapter 5, Statutes of 2016) increases the Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave wage replacement rate to approximately 60 to 70 percent, dependent on your income, and removes the 7-day waiting period for PFL, however the 7-day waiting period still remains for SDI claims. All claims to fall under the changes of this law must have been made on January 1, 2018 or after. There are a few steps you must take to receive these benefits. First, file a claim for PFL benefits using SDI online or by mail and provide proof of relationship for bonding claims such as a birth certificate or adoption paperwork. Second, you must have earned at least $300 in wages that are subject to State Disability Insurance deductions during the 12 month base period of your claim. Lastly, your physician or practitioner must certify the need for care by completing the “Physician/Practitioner’s Certification” paperwork. If eligible, you can receive approximately 60 to 70 percent of wages earned 5 to 18 months prior to your claim start date (maximum wage replacement rate is $1,216 per week) for up to six weeks within any 12-month period. This is a change from the 55% wage replacement.
How do you know if you are covered?
Workers must have begun employment at least 180 calendar days prior to the start of leave.
How does this impact businesses? And what will they have to do about it?
Posters and notices are required by the state for employers to inform their employees advising them of their right to claim Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave. This may be provided by a Disability Insurance Provision brochure, a Paid Family Leave Benefits Brochure, and a Notice to Employees: Unemployment Insurance/Disability Insurance/Paid Family Leave form or publication. Approximately 18.1 million California workers are covered by the PFL program. To learn more about your specific standing and options visit: Californiapaidfamilyleave.com. There is no direct cost to employers because it is funded entirely through employee payroll taxes, but the California Employment Development Department (EDD) estimates a 0.1% increase to the employee contribution rate from 2019 to 2021 to fund the increased benefits. However, the increase is set to expire at the end of 2021. Furthermore, California Legislature will determine whether the changes stay in effect beyond 2021.