California Paid Family Leave

California Paid Family Leave

In 2002, California was the first state to create a paid family leave insurance, the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.  The PFL program extended California’s existing temporary disability insurance fund to caregiving and bonding claims; previously the fund was only available for claims for a worker’s own health condition.  Workers who contribute to the temporary disability insurance fund, known as the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, are entitled to six weeks of partial pay each year while on leave to bond with a newborn baby, adopted or foster child, or care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner.  Workers may receive up to 55% of their weekly wages as their maximum weekly benefit amount. As of 2010, the maximum weekly benefit amount is $987.

The PFL program is entirely funded from worker contributions. Workers pay a small payroll deduction of 1.1 percent of salary. The average worker contribution in the fiscal year 2009-2010 was $465.27. The vast majority of private employees in California contribute to the SDI fund and are eligible to participate in the PFL program. There are no employer size, job tenure or hours requirements to participate in the program – workers who have contributed at least $300 to the SDI fund during a designated base period are eligible to participate.  Employers can require their workers to use two weeks of their paid vacation time before they receiving paid family leave benefits. Lastly, the six weeks of PFL benefits run concurrently with federal and state leave laws.  The PFL program does not extend leave guaranteed under the FMLA or relevant state laws;  the program simply ensures that six of those weeks are paid.

Commentary

Family Leave: mother and child

California’s Paid Family Leave Law Is Working, New Study Finds

May 18, 2011
Family Leave: mother and child

Another Job Killer Lie Exposed

January 21, 2011

Cry Wolf Quotes

If it becomes law, it will be the biggest financial burden for small businesses in decades, coming at a time when the state's economy is the most precarious it has been in a quarter of a century and when Main Street firms are least able to afford it.

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Julianne Broyles, spokeswoman for California Chamber of Commerce. The Tri-Valley Herald.

You've got new taxes and new costs on employers and employees at a time when the economy is not doing well.

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Julianne Broyles, spokeswoman for California Chamber of Commerce. The Tri-Valley Herald.

We're opposed to a lot of bills, but this is one of the worst. When you're the only state in the country with paid family leave and they've tried it in 27 other states and it's failed in each and every one, we see it as a competitive disadvantage in attracting or keeping businesses here.

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Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce. The New York Times.

We can follow the [social] programs of Germany and France and get unemployment way up into double digits. That's the result of bad legislation.

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The Christian Science Monitor

Evidence