FAQ - State Employees
SDI was negotiated for employees in Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21.
SDI pays part of an employee’s wages if they have to stop working because of a non-work-related illness, injury, or due to pregnancy to bond with a child (i.e., under age 18) within one year of its birth, adoption, or foster care placement. SDI also covers time off to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner. For more information, visit About the SDI Program.
- Can an employee choose to participate in either SDI or Nonindustrial Disability Insurance (NDI)/Enhanced Nonindustrial Insurance (ENDI)?
No. The existing agreement provides for continuing the current NDI program (both the regular and enhanced benefit levels) until the SDI deductions start, and for six months following the initial SDI deduction. After that, the state will discontinue coverage under the NDI program if the employee is in a bargaining unit covered by SDI.
- Will the state continue to contribute to the employee’s health, dental, and vision benefits if the employee is unable to work and receive SDI benefits?
If an employee is unable to work (for reasons described above) and is receiving SDI benefits, the state will pay the full premiums for an employee and any applicable dependent coverage for health, dental, and vision benefits during that time The state will recover the employee’s portion of the premiums paid through an accounts receivable.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) administers the SDI program; the State Controller’s Office will calculate and withhold the deductions; and the Department of Personnel Administration is responsible for the contract administration.
The agreement between the state and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) allows for the use of 40 hours accrued leave credits per month while receiving SDI benefits. Also, an employee may use accrued vacation, annual leave, Combined Time Off (CTO), holiday credit, personal leave, or sick leave balances to cover the benefit waiting-period, per the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding.
Yes. PFL, known as Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI), provides benefits to individuals who need to be off work to care for a seriously ill family member, or for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. This means an employee covered by SDI, is also covered for this PFL benefit.
- Where can an employee find additional information about SDI, such as eligibility, benefits amounts, claim filing, etc?
- Employers are mandated by law to provide health benefits for employees while they are on a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Will the State bill the employees for the employee-paid premium when they return to work from their FMLA leave?
Yes. The employer will pay the employer’s portion of the health benefits premium for up to 26 weeks. The State Controller’s Office will set up accounts receivable for the employee’s portion of the health benefits premium to be paid when the employee returns to work.
As stated above, the employer will pay the employer’s portion of the health benefits premium for up to 26 weeks and the State Controller’s Office will set up an accounts receivable for the employee’s portion of the health benefits premium to be paid when the employee returns to work. If the employee has not returned to work after the 26 weeks, in order to continue the health benefits, the employee will be required to direct pay the provider for both the employee and employer share of the health benefits premiums.
No, managerial and supervisory employees participate in the NDI program (both the regular and enhanced benefit levels).
Please note that these questions and answers are intended to be general in nature, and may not address each individual situation. Specific situations will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the applicable Memorandum of Understanding.
DI benefits are not taxable except when considered to be a substitute for unemployment compensation when paid to an individual who is ineligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits solely because of the disability. Only in this instance, where DI benefits are received in lieu of UI benefits, will the EDD provide the claimant with a 1099G form showing amounts paid which are reportable (no more than the original UI maximum) and forward a copy of the 1099G to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
PFL benefits are taxable for federal purposes but not state tax purposes. The EDD will provide all claimants with a 1099G form and forward a copy of the 1099G to the federal IRS. The PFL benefits are not taxable/reportable to the California State Franchise Tax Board.
- Are SDI deductions pre-taxed (deducted from the paycheck prior to paying federal, state and social security taxes)?
No, SDI deductions are not pre-taxed.
- If the employee’s spouse has health benefit coverage and the employee is receiving the cash option under FlexElect, will the employee be allowed to reenroll in the cash option after returning from leave?
Yes, the employee’s FlexElect Cash Option will resume automatically once the employee returns from leave.
Yes, an employee working reduced hours or at modified duty due to a disability and who suffers a wage loss may be eligible for benefits.
An employee who is receiving SDI benefits will not accrue Annual Leave credits unless he/she works.
- Will an SDI deduction be taken from a lump-sum payment that is being transferred to an employee’s 401K plan?
No. Lump sum payments for pay (e.g. vacation, annual leave, CTO) which was earned but not paid for services performed prior to termination of employment, shall not be construed to be wages or compensation for personal services. Therefore, there should be no SDI deduction withheld from lump sum payments. This includes lump sum payments for vacation cash out or lump sum payments for 401K plans.
- What happens to a represented employee who has been paying into SDI for quite some time and then they promote/move to a non-SEIU bargaining unit? What happens to their SDI deductions? Are the funds returned to the employee? Is the employee eligible for both NDI and SDI?
The SDI deductions stop. The funds are not returned to the employee. The employee could potentially be eligible for both NDI and SDI as long as the employee has wages in their base period.
- Employees may buy back NDI time for retirement purposes. Will employees be able to buy back SDI time?
SDI does not qualify for purchase as retirement service credit.
- Are employees in the affected bargaining units who live and work in other states, but are employed by the State of California, covered by SDI?
Yes. These employees can file claims and receive benefits, if otherwise eligible, despite residing out of state.