Paid Family Leave Act
California’s Paid Family Leave – SB 1661 (Kuehl) Ten Quick Facts
1. Beginning July 1, 2004, California workers will receive up to 6 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child (birth, adoption, or foster care) or seriously ill family member (parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner).
2. Workers who already pay into the existing State Disability Insurance (SDI) system will be eligible for paid family leave.
3. Worker payments begin January 1, 2004. Benefits begin July 1, 2004. This time delay allows for administrative systems and funding to be established.
4. This program is 100% employee-funded. A minimum wage earner will pay an additional $11.23 a year into SDI, while the estimated average cost is $27 per worker per year.
5. The benefit will replace up to 55% of wages, up to a maximum of $728 per week in 2004. The maximum benefit will increase automatically each year in accordance with increases in the state’s average weekly wage.
6. There is a one-week waiting period before workers can apply for paid family leave (like the UI program).
7. Employers can require a worker to use a maximum of two weeks of vacation time first before receiving paid family leave. One week will be used to cover the waiting period.
8. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are not required to hold a job for a worker who goes on paid family leave. Collective bargaining agreements may offer different protections for these workers.
9. New mothers eligible for pregnancy-related SDI will also be eligible for paid family leave.
10. California is the first state in the country to create a comprehensive paid family leave program. Current state and federal law guarantee 12 weeks of unpaid leave for those working for larger employers; this new law guarantees that 6 of those weeks would be paid.
Source: California Labor Federation. September 24, 2002.