March 10, 2018 - by Anai Ibarra | AARP California - Español - AARP strongly supports the Paid Family Leave program because family caregivers who work shouldn’t have to choose between caring for a loved one and making a living.
Here are five things you should know about California’s Paid Family Leave program:
1) What is Paid Family Leave?
Under state law, working Californians can take up to six weeks off to care for a seriously ill loved one while still receiving a portion of their salary. Most working Californians will be able to receive up to 70 percent of their salary.
2) How long has this program been around?
Californians have been able to take Paid Family Leave since 2004 (the law passed in 2002). The benefit has been expanded so that employees can now take paid leave to care for a variety of family members, including parents-in-law, grandchildren, siblings, and grandparents. Starting in 2018, there is no longer a one-week waiting period for benefits to commence.
3) Am I eligible?
You are eligible to take Paid Family Leave if:
- You are a caregiver for a seriously ill family member. Qualifying family members include a child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner.
- You have paid into State Disability Insurance (noted as “CASDI” on paystubs) in the past five to 18 months.
- You have not have taken the maximum six weeks of PFL in the past 12 months.
Most private-sector employees in California will be eligible for Paid Family Leave. If you are a public employee, your employer may opt into the program or you may be covered if Paid Family Leave is part of a collective bargaining agreement. Californians working for a company with 50 or more employees qualify for job-protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), both of which provide job protections but do not cover lost wages. For more information, you should contact your employer’s human resources department or your union.
4) For whom can I care while taking paid leave?
Paid Family Leave is available for those who are:
- Caring for a close relative with a serious health condition, including a child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner;
- “Bonding” leave: Maternity or paternity leave, whether you are a birth, adoptive, or a foster parent.
5) Where can I get more information about Paid Family Leave and caregiving?
The State of California provides information about the Paid Family Leave program at www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/Paid_Family_Leave.htm.
The state’s Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST by calling 1-877-238-4373.
Want to request Paid Family Leave? www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/PFL_Forms_and_Publications.htm
Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families was developed by AARP to help make caregiving more manageable. It includes information on how to have difficult but vital conversations with older family members, organize important documents, assess your loved one’s needs, and locate important resources.