California Governor Begins Extending Paid Family Leave Benefits

In June of 2019 Governor Newsome signed California Senate Bill 83, thereby extending the benefit eligibility period for Paid Family Leave under the Stade Disability Insurance program.  The benefit period will be expanded from six (6) to eight (8) weeks, beginning on July 1, 2020.

The Paid Family Leave program, open to individuals paying into the State Disability Insurance program, allows these individuals to receive wage replacement payments under the following circumstances:

  1. When it is necessary to take time off to care or provide for an ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or domestic partner; or
  2. To bond with a new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

The increase from six to eight weeks is merely the beginning of benefit expansion for the program, which is funded by mandatory employee payroll deductions.  Currently, individuals who are eligible typically receive 60-70% of their lost wages, depending on income (with a maximum rate of $1,252), but a provision of the SB 83 requires the Governor to produce a November 2019 proposal that will address expanding this amount to 90% for low-wage workers.

This November proposal will also analyze and address the possibility of further expanding the Paid Family Leave benefit period to six months by 2022 (only for bonding purposes).  Other aspects of the forthcoming proposal include job protection, which is not currently provided by the program (but may be provided via the Family and Medical Leave Act or California Family Rights Act), and the mechanics of funding the program.

Employers should continue to monitor the program as it evolves and expands, while considering leave and benefit policies in preparation for the July 1, 2020 change.

Full text of SB 83:

Employment Development Department Help Page:

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