California Law Helps Families
A California law has established the Paid Family Leave Program. This program allows workers to take up to 6 weeks of partially paid leave from their jobs (during a 12 month period) to bond with a newly born or adopted child, or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or registered domestic partner. Spouses, for same sex couples, includes spouses who married between June 17, 2008 and November 3, 2008 in California and same sex couples who married legally outside California prior to November 4, 2008.
Since the beginning of the program, over 1 million claims have been paid and over 1 billion dollars in claims have been paid out.
Often, when a new child is born or a family member is seriously ill or injured, circumstances require that a worker take time off from work to bond with the new child, or to care for the ill or injured family member. Prior to the enactment of the Paid Family Leave Program, this often meant that the worker and his or her family suffered serious economic harm in these situations. The Paid Family Leave Program eases those burdens, and makes taking the time to care for a loved one more affordable.
People can take the 6 weeks of leave all at once if needed, or it can be taken in shorter periods that add up to 6 weeks in a 12 month period.
Under the law, people taking such leave can receive weekly payments from the state of amounts equal to 55% of their pay during their base period. However, the lowest weekly payment would be $50 per week and the highest is $959 per week. The base period, on which the weekly benefit is based, is generally the period from 5-17 months before the period for which the claim is being made. For example, for a claim starting in January, February, or March, 2010, the base period would be the 12 months ending on September 30, 2009.
These benefits are funded by deductions made from the pay checks of most California workers.
Most California Employers are required to allow employees to take paid family leave to bond with a new child, or to care for the family members listed above. A significant drawback to the program is that the law that established the California Paid Family Leave Program, does not require employers to re-employ the worker after the period of paid family leave. However, for many workers, the right to return to work is guaranteed by another California law called the California Family Rights Act.
The California Family Rights Act protects a workers right to return to their old job in the following circumstances:
– The leave is to bond with a new baby or adopted child or to care for a
seriously ill or injured parent or spouse or registered domestic partner.
– The employee works in California and has worked full or part time for more
than 12 months for his or her employer and has worked for at least 1,250
hours for the employer in the 12 months prior to the beginning of the leave.
– The person works for an employer who has 50 or more employees working
within 75 miles of the work site of the person requesting the leave. Note:
Employees of any state or local government in California meet this
requirement regardless of how many workers the employer has.
Anyone seeking up to 6 weeks of paid family leave who meet the above requirements has a right to return to his or her old job or to a comparable job with his or her employer.
To obtain a claim form, or to get additional information, call 1-877-238-4373 or visit the web site of the California Employment Development Department at:
California Communities United Institute (CalComUI) is a California based entity dedicated to making this a better world for all the communities of California. Fundamental to our philosophy is the concept that, if various communities work together, supporting each other’s needs, then all of them will benefit, and each will benefit to a greater degree than if they worked alone.
http://www.edd.ca.gov and then click on the “Disability” tab, and finally click on “Paid Family Leave Insurance”.