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California Paid Family Leave Law

California has a complicated network of overlapping family and medical leave laws. As far as paid family leave is concerned, California's Paid Family Leave law (PFL) provides coverage for a portion of qualifying employees' wages when they take time off to care for qualifying family members or to bond with their own new child. Other state and federal laws, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act can provide for periods of leave from work where a worker's job is protected, but the state's Paid Family Leave insurance is what can (for qualified employees) pay for a portion of wages.

Covered Employees:

Applies to any employee covered by disability insurance, which is deducted from employee paychecks.

Benefits Provided:

Paid Family Leave insurance provides a qualified employee with 55% of his or her base wages, capping out at a maximum of $987 per week. These benefits can last up to 6 weeks.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave:

The Paid Family Leave law allows for covered employees to take time off to:

    1) bond with a newborn baby, adopted or foster child; or

    2) care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner.

Employees seeking time off to care for a qualifying family member should note that not just any standard, common cold or flu will qualify as a "serious" illness for purposes of receiving benefits. Paid leave is not provided by law for employees' own illnesses (with one exception being the city of San Francisco, discussed below).

San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Employees working in San Francisco should be aware that they may have additional benefits under San Francisco's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. All employers must provide paid sick leave to full or part time employees who work in San Francisco. These benefits accrue for employees at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours of time worked, capping at either 40 or 72 hours depending on the size of the employer. This sick leave can be used to care for the employee's own illness or that of a family member or designated person.

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