California Extends Paid Family Leave Benefits to 8 Weeks!

Thanks to Governor Newsom, who signed Senate Bill 83, the maximum duration of Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits will increase from 6 weeks to 8 weeks, beginning on July 1, 2020.

This is very good news for anyone who needs to take time off from work to bond with a new child entering their life either by birth, adoption, or foster care placement; as well as those needing to take time off to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner. Big shout out to Gov. Newsom for thinking about families in California!

Before anyone gets excited about paid leave, it’s important to address that PFL is NOT a protected leave of absence. It only provides wage replacement. You must be eligible for CFRA or NPLA in order for your job to be protected while taking time off to collect PFL (check out this post to learn more about how CFRA/NPLA interacts with PFL). If you are not eligible for CFRA or NPLA, then you would need to request a leave of absence from your employer in order to take the time off to collect PFL (check out this post for more information).

Also, there are a couple of unanswered questions regarding the increase in PFL benefits:

1. Does my baby have to be born after July 1, 2020, for me to take eight weeks of paid leave?

The EDD has not yet confirmed whether new mothers who have filed SDI for their pregnancy-related disability prior to July 1, 2020, will receive the increased 8-week PFL benefit (or will be locked into the current 6-week PFL benefit) when transitioning to PFL from SDI. 

2. Will my PFL benefit amount be paid at the same rate as my SDI? 

Most likely. EDD has not yet confirmed if the PFL benefit amount will be recalculated, or if the PFL benefit amount will be paid out at the same rate as SDI, as it is the case currently.

I’ll continue to keep my ear to the ground on any new developments or confirmation on the PFL increase. In the meantime, check out this informative FAQ with Loree Levy, Deputy Director of the Employment Development Department (EDD).