Beginning on July 1, 2020, California will extend the maximum duration of Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits from six weeks to eight weeks. Individuals may receive benefits from California’s state disability insurance (SDI) program:
- To care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner.
- To bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child through foster care or adoption.
The PFL program is not a leave right and does not provide job protection, but other state and federal laws such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Parental Leave law can provide such protection for eligible employees.
The PFL program started in July 2004 and provides wage replacement to workers who take time off from work for an ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or domestic partner, or to bond with a child within one year of birth or adoption. Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the most recent enactment, Senate Bill 83, on June 27, 2019. Senate Bill 83 was part of a larger state budget package for the new fiscal year that starts July 1, and is a move toward the governor’s goal of ultimately expanding paid family leave to six months (for two parents if leave is taken consecutively). To that end, Senate Bill 83 also requires the governor to propose, by November 2019, further benefit increases and job protections for individuals receiving PFL benefits, including an increase in PFL duration “to a full six months by 2021–22.”
In the next year, before Senate Bill 83’s extension takes effect, employers should consider reviewing and revising leave policies, procedures and practices, and their parental or other paid leave benefits to ensure compliance.