Frequently Asked Questions, and their Answers, by topic.

Family Leave Q&A: The California State Employment Development Department administers the new Paid Family Leave benefit program. This article provides Frequently Asked Questions and the answers regarding the Program.

The California State Employment Development Department is responsible for administering the new Paid Family Leave benefit program. This article provides Frequently Asked Questions and the answers regarding the Program, including Overview, Eligibility, Cost, Benefits, and Forms information.

You must request and complete a state form to apply for this benefit. Due to the way the claim will be administered, the claim form has to be an original.

The phone number for the claim form is 1-877-BE-THERE. The State of California’s Paid Family Leave information website address is: http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/pflpub.asp

 

PAID FAMILY LEAVE: OVERVIEW

What is Paid Family Leave?

Paid Family Leave is unemployment compensation disability insurance paid to workers who suffer a wage loss when they take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child.

How long may a person receive Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

Workers may receive up to six (6) weeks of benefits that may be paid over a 12-month period.

What is the relationship of Paid Family Leave Insurance to State Disability Insurance?

Paid Family Leave Insurance is a component of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. The SDI benefit portion compensates workers who suffer a wage loss when they can’t work because of their own illness or injury. The Paid Family Leave benefit compensates workers who suffer a wage loss due to the need to provide care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.

Are payroll deductions mandatory?

Yes, beginning January 1, 2004, employers are required to deduct the Paid Family Leave contributions from the wages of employees who are covered by the SDI program.

Who pays?

The Paid Family Leave insurance program is fully funded by employees’ contributions, similar to the SDI program.

When does the Paid Family Leave insurance program begin?

Benefits will be payable for Paid Family Leave insurance claims commencing on or after July 1, 2004.

Will the moratorium on new regulations delay the implementation of Paid Family Leave benefits?

No. Paid Family Leave benefits will be paid to eligible claimants starting July 1, 2004, as specified in the statute. The regulations clarify the statutory provisions, but cannot change the rights or responsibilities specified in the statute. The processing of all pending regulations are suspended pending a review that will reassess their impact on business. This applies to all pending regulations, including the pending Paid Family Leave regulations. After the required review, the processing of the regulations is expected to continue with another public comment period.

How does the passage of the Paid Family Leave clean-up bill (SB 727) affect the regulations for the Paid Family Leave program?

The EDD plans to incorporate the regulatory changes necessary due to the enactment of SB 727 in the current regulatory proceeding. SB 727, for example, eliminated the waiting period for Paid Family Leave benefits for women who serve a waiting period before collecting DI benefits for pregnancy and then elect to bond with their new child using Paid Family Leave benefits. Comments on these changes, as well as on EDD’s responses to comments received to the initial proposed regulations, will be sought during the next public comment period on the regulations.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Who will Paid Family Leave cover?

Employees covered by State Disability Insurance (SDI) will also be covered by Paid Family Leave insurance. If a Voluntary Plan Insurer provides your company’s disability insurance coverage, then it must also provide Paid Family Leave insurance coverage.

Are self-employed individuals covered by Paid Family Leave?

Yes, but only if they participate in the SDI Elective Coverage Program.

I work for a government entity. Am I covered?

Some government workers, including school employees, may be eligible for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits if they contribute into the SDI program. Also, if you have wages from a private employer during the base period, you might qualify even though your primary employer is a government entity.

I work for a small business. Am I covered?

Employees are covered for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits regardless of the size of their employer, provided they contribute to the SDI program.

I work for a small business with 15 employees. If I notify my employer that I need to take time from work to provide care for a seriously ill parent and will be claiming Paid Family Leave insurance benefits, is my employer obligated to grant me time off and to retain me as an employee with the company?

Your employer is not obligated to grant time off nor is your employer obligated to hold your job for you unless your employer is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. Unlike these laws, Paid Family Leave insurance is not a form of job protection. In other words, it does not give you the right to take leave.

May I collect Paid Family Leave insurance benefits if I work part time?

Yes, provided you are otherwise eligible. Paid Family Leave insurance is a wage loss protection program, which means that individuals may be entitled to a portion of the Paid Family Leave insurance benefit if they are suffering a loss of wages and meet the other Paid Family Leave eligibility requirements.

In what situations may I file for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

An employee may file a claim for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits for the following reasons:

  • To care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or domestic partner;
  • To bond with the employee’s new child or the new child of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner; or
  • To bond with a child in connection with the adoption or foster care placement of the child with the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

Do I have to work a minimum number of hours or days before becoming eligible for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

No. Eligibility for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits will be based on the earnings shown in your base period and not a specific number of days or months worked. Wages earned approximately 5 to 17 months before the beginning of your Paid Family Leave insurance claim are included in the base period.

Will there be a waiting period for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

Both SDI and Paid Family Leave require a seven (7) calendar day non-payable waiting period.

How many days must I be off work to receive Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

At least eight (8) calendar days.

Do I need to take all of my Paid Family Leave insurance benefits at one time?

No. The law does not establish a minimum number of hours or days or weeks that an employee must take Paid Family Leave insurance benefits. It only established the maximum leave time of six (6) paid weeks within a 12-month period.

If I receive six weeks of Paid Family Leave insurance benefits to bond with my newborn and then one of my parents becomes seriously ill later in the year, will I be able to receive Paid Family Leave benefits again since it is for a different reason?

You are limited to 6 weeks of benefits within a 12-month period regardless of the reason for the leave.

Am I required by law to use my vacation leave when collecting Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

The law gives an employer the discretion (option) to require an employee to take up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave. This option does not relieve employers of any collective-bargaining duties they may have with respect to vacation leave.

If I have not accumulated two weeks of vacation leave do I have to use my earned but unused sick leave instead?

No. The Paid Family Leave law does not authorize employers to require the use of sick leave in lieu of vacation.

I am scheduled to have my baby at the end of March 2004, and plan to take six weeks of maternity leave from my job. Will I be able to take an additional six weeks of Paid Family Leave to bond with my baby after July 1, 2004, when Paid Family Leave benefits begin?

Yes. You can file a claim for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits to bond with your baby on or after July 1, 2004, provided the period you are claiming is within one year of the birth of your baby. Up to six weeks of benefits may be payable if you are otherwise eligible.

Can I use Paid Family Leave back-to-back with my Disability Insurance claim for pregnancy? Will there be an additional seven-day waiting period for Paid Family Leave?

You may apply for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits as soon as you have recovered from your pregnancy-related disability and you are no longer in receipt of State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits. There is no additional seven-day waiting period for a Paid Family Leave claim for benefits to bond with a newborn when the Paid Family Leave claim follows the SDI pregnancy-related claim.

My wife is having a baby in June 2004 and I was wondering if I can apply for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits to bond with the baby in August 2004?

Your baby does not have to be born July 1, 2004, or later in order for you to receive benefits to bond. You may receive benefits provided that the period for which you are claiming benefits is within one year of the birth of your new child and you are otherwise eligible.

Is a claimant eligible for Paid Family Leave if he/she has to provide care for a sick parent that is out-of-state or out-of-the-country?

A claim may be filed for Paid Family Leave benefits to care for a sick parent that is out of the state or out of the country. Benefits may be payable provided the medical certificate establishes a need for care and a claimant is otherwise eligible.

Are mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law included as care recipients under Paid Family Leave?

Mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law are not included as care recipients under Paid Family Leave.

Can an employee opt out of the Paid Family Leave insurance program?

Paid Family Leave is a component of State Disability Insurance and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.

 

COST

Are the payroll deductions mandatory?

Yes, beginning January 1, 2004, employers are required to deduct the Paid Family Leave insurance contributions from the wages of employees who are covered by the SDI program.

How much will it cost?

For calendar years 2004 and 2005, the Paid Family Leave insurance contribution rate will* be .08 percent (.0008) of the taxable wage limit.

The taxable wage limit in 2004 will be $68,829. This means that wages above this amount are not taxed for SDI. Therefore the maximum contribution for Paid Family Leave insurance would be $55.06 in 2004, in addition to the existing SDI contribution.

The taxable wage limit in 2005 will be $79,418. This means that wages above this amount are not taxed for SDI. Therefore, the maximum contribution for Paid Family Leave insurance would be $63.53 in 2005, in addition to the existing SDI contribution.

The cost of Paid Family Leave insurance will be incorporated into the base SDI contribution rate from 2006 and beyond.

 

RELATION OF THE PAID FAMILY LEAVE INSURANCE PROGRAM TO THE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA) AND THE CALIFORNIA FAMILY RIGHTS ACT (CFRA)

What is the relationship between Paid Family Leave insurance and employee leave laws?

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.

For more information about FMLA, visit the Department of Labor’s Web site at www.dol.gov. For more information about CFRA contact the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing at 1-800-884-1684 or visit them on the Web at www.dfeh.ca.gov.

Are employees required to take leave under the federal FMLA and the CFRA at the same time they are receiving Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

Yes, if your company is subject to the provisions of FMLA and CFRA. For additional information about the CFRA, visit the State Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s Web site at www.dfeh.ca.gov.

Is a Paid Family Leave claimant’s job protected?

The Paid Family Leave program does not protect anyone’s job. It simply provides partial wage replacement when a person cannot work due to the need to care for a child, parent, spouse, or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. Some persons may have their job protected under other laws, such as the FMLA or the CFRA.

 

BENEFITS

How will you determine my weekly benefit amount for Paid Family Leave insurance?

Your weekly benefit amount will be calculated based on the calendar quarter with the highest earnings during the base period.

You must have at least $300 in wages in your base period.

How much will I receive?

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.

Will my Paid Family Leave insurance benefits equal my full pay?

Your weekly benefit amount will be approximately 55 percent of your earnings up to the maximum weekly benefit amount.

How long can I receive Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

You may collect up to six (6) weeks of Paid Family Leave insurance benefits during a 12-month period.

May a person collect other benefits while also collecting Paid Family Leave insurance?

A worker may not receive Paid Family Leave insurance benefits if he or she is also eligible for or already receiving State Disability Insurance, Unemployment Compensation Insurance, or Workers’ Compensation.

How is the Paid Family Leave insurance benefit affected when an employee receives sick leave benefits and Paid Family Leave at the same time?

Consistent with the SDI program, sick leave wages are treated as wages. Paid Family Leave insurance benefits will be reduced by the amount of sick leave wages received, and may render the individual ineligible for benefits depending on the amount of sick leave wages received and the individual’s weekly benefit amount.

When will Paid Family Leave insurance benefit payments begin?

Claims are payable for benefit periods that begin on or after July 1, 2004. In other words, benefits will not be paid for leave taken prior to July 1, 2004.

Must I report receipt of Paid Family Leave benefits to the Internal Revenue Service as gross income?

The EDD will report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the amount of Paid Family Leave insurance benefits paid to you. The EDD will provide you with a 1099G form that will show the amount reported to the IRS.

 

CLAIM FORMS

How do I submit a claim for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?

Claims to provide care or to bond must be submitted on the Claim for Paid Family Benefits form, DE 2501F. When benefits are requested due to a need to provide care for a seriously ill family member, a medical certificate that supports the claim of a serious health condition warranting care is required. The DE 2501F contains a medical certificate *that must be completed in the instance noted above. Benefits to bond with a new minor child are limited to the first year after birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child and a medical certificate is not required.

Are employers required to provide Paid Family Leave insurance claim forms to their employees?

No.

How can I obtain the claim form for Paid Family Leave?

To order a claim form, call 1-877-BE-THERE. For orders over 25, use the Internet Order Form

Can the claim form for Paid Family Leave be downloaded?

The Claim for Paid Family Benefits form, DE 2501F, has been designed to facilitate the use of advanced “data capture” technology and thus cannot be duplicated or reproduced. Each claimant must complete an original DE 2501F form to file a claim for benefits.

Is there a table of benefits I can view right now?

Yes, click here to see a table of benefits amounts under Family Leave.

Also, click here to visit the California State website.

 

New Hires Q&A: Questions frequently asked by new hires, and their answers.

I am a new graduate and was hired as Staff Nurse I, when am I eligible for a pay raise?

You will be promoted to Staff Nurse II Step 2 in six (6) months. This promotion represents a 3 % increase in just 6 months as long as your performance is satisfactory.

How do I know if I received this raise?

Check your pay check to see that your pay increase is there. If you do not see a pay raise, email your Manager and keep a copy of your email for your own records. If your pay raise is not resolved call the CRONA office or email “crona at crona.org”.

Do I get another pay raise after my initial pay increase?

Yes. In another 6 months if your performance is satisfactory you will be promoted to Staff Nurse II Step 3 which represents another pay increase. Subsequent step increases up to Step 7 will be occur each year on the pay period in which your annual review date falls. In addition to your yearly Step increase you also receive across-the board salary increase. You play a part in these yearly across-the-board salary increases by getting involved and voting for your contract during negotiations.

I was hired as Staff Nurse II Step 2. When am I eligible for a pay raise?

Six months from your hire date you will progress to Staff II Step 3 providing your performance is satisfactory. This step increase also applies to Nurses who are hired at Staff Nurse III Step 2 or Staff Nurse IV Step 2. Subsequent step increases up to Step 7 will occur each year on the pay period in which your annual review date falls. In addition to your yearly Step increase, you also receive across-the-board salary increase. Check your pay check to see that your pay increase is there. If you do not see a pay raise, email your Manager and keep a copy of your email for your own records. If your pay raise is not resolved call the CRONA office or email “crona at crona.org”.

I have several years of experience as a Nurse and I believe I should have been offered a higher salary. What can I do to get a higher salary?

After your orientation meet with your Manager and inform him/her that you would like to be promoted to the next Staff Nurse Level in three (3) months. Request a copy of the Staff Nurse Criteria and agree on the goals/activities that you will need to complete in order to get promoted. If you have any questions call or email the CRONA office.

How can I track my timecard or pay stub for accuracy?

If you are at LPCH, copy your timecard. If you are at SHC, develop your own personal recordkeeping, i.e., appointment book, PDA.

When can I start using my educational benefits?

After completion of your trial period.

How many education hours am I eligible for every year?
How much in educational monies am I eligible for every year?

It is prorated according to your commitment.

Can I roll-over any unused educational monies and/or hours to the following year?

You cannot roll-over unused educational monies to the following year.
You can roll-over unused educational hours as follows: SHC – all denied hours LPCH – maximum of 16 denied hours

How do I roll-over unused educational hours?

You must first request education time on your preplanning schedule sheets. If your request is denied, write/email your Manager indicating that you are rolling-over your denied education hours. Personally keep track of these additional hours the following year.

What time of the year can I start using my educational benefits?

You can use your educational benefits from September 1 to August 31 every year. We encourage you to use your benefits early in the year. Your chances of taking education days from June – August are very slim due to summer vacations.

Is there another way of taking my education day if my request is denied?

Yes. Take the course or class on your own time and ask your manager to add your education day over your commitment without incurring overtime. For example, add four (4) hours to each week until your denied hours are taken.