California Paid Family Leave

California has one of the most generous Paid Family Leave (PFL) programs in the nation. Even if your employer doesn’t offer any paid family leave, Californians who pay into CA State Disability Insurance (SDI) are eligible to take 6 weeks off with 60-70% of your income up to a limit. Read on for frequently asked questions and tips on CA PFL.

How many days should I take off?

Luckily, before filing my PFL claim, I received some really helpful advice on how many days to take off.

One coworker suggested to save PFL for when my baby was closer to 6 months because, although my presence is helpful in the beginning, my time isn’t as valuable early on. Firstly, since we were planning on breastfeeding our newborn, I wouldn’t be able to help with feeding. Secondly, newborns are mostly just blobs and there isn’t as much connection with the father. It takes months for a baby to develop cognitive awareness and connect with the father.

Another coworker suggested I take 3 weeks of PFL right after the birth of my baby. The first 2 weeks after the birth of a newborn is really a blur with the time in the hospital, lack of sleep, and such a drastic change in line. Things start to settle down by week 3 and you’re given a chance to take in life with your newborn.

If you decide to break up your PFL, it’s important to fill out the claim correctly. Since the CA Employment Development Department (EDD) considers 1 week of PFL as 7 days, it’s important to choose the full 7 days of the week even if you would have worked for 5 of those days.

How is the income calculated?

The way the weekly benefit amount is calculated is interesting. It isn’t calculated by just looking at the last N paychecks. Instead, the calculation is based off the highest earning quarter out of the 4 quarters before the last quarter.

For more information, refer to the EDD website.

How do I know if I qualify?

In short, you qualify if you are employed and have contributed to CA State Disability Insurance (SDI).

For more information, refer to the EDD website.

Where do I apply or learn more?

To file a claim for PFL, log into Benefits Program Online and click on SDI Online.

For information on CA PFL, visit the California Employment Development Department (EDD) website.

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