Paid Family Leave Program Expands Definition of Eligible Family
On September 24, 2013, Governor Brown signed SB 770 into law revising the California “Paid Family Leave Program” administered through the EDD (California State Employment Development Department). SB 770 extends paid family leave benefits to more California families by expanding the definition of family to include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law.
Nearly all private employees in California contribute a portion of each paycheck to SDI and a small portion of those contributions fund the PFL program. Paid Family Leave is entirely worker -funded.
In 2002, California became the first state in the nation to enact a comprehensive Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance program through an expansion of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) system. Implemented in 2004, PFL provides up to six weeks of approximately 55% of lost wages during a 12-month period to workers who must take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child. This original legislation defined eligible family members as “a parent, child, and spouse or registered domestic partner.”
A recent study of caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients showed that nearly 40 percent of caregivers were not covered by the definition of family in California’s PFL law. Another study found that nearly 20 percent of primary caregivers for chronically disabled individuals are neither the spouse nor the child of the person receiving care and 20% of chronically disabled individual’s caregivers were not covered either. The Employment Development Department was rejecting about 10 percent of leave claims because the person cared for was not a included family member.
SB 770, with the expanded definition of covered relatives, doesn’t go into effect until July 1, 2014. As of the date of this blog, neither the brochure for the Paid Family Leave Program (DE 2511) or the “Fact Sheet” (DE 8714CF) have been updated to reflect the new changes.
If you have any questions about whether or not you qualify for this program or how to apply, you can always give us a call – Bressler & Company — 559-924-1225.
Additional information can be found on the fact sheet and the brochure noted above.
The majority of information on this blog was taken from language in the SB 770 Fact Sheet.