FAQs – Employers Eligibility


Who is eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI)?
See basic eligibility.

Who does Paid Family Leave cover?
Employees covered by State Disability Insurance (SDI) are also covered by Paid Family Leave insurance. If a Voluntary Plan Insurer provides your company’s disability insurance coverage, in lieu of SDI, then it must also provide Paid Family Leave insurance coverage.

Does an employee have to work a minimum number of hours or days before becoming eligible for Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?
No. The Paid Family Leave law does not require a minimum number of hours worked or days employed to qualify for benefits.

May employees receive Disability or Paid Family Leave insurance benefits if they work part time?
If your employees work part time and still suffer a wage loss due to a family care need, they may receive benefits provided they are otherwise eligible. Disability and Paid Family Leave insurance is a wage loss protection program, which means that individuals may be eligible for a portion of the Disability and Paid Family Leave insurance benefit if they are suffering a loss of wages and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Does the seven (7) day waiting period for Disability and Paid Family Leave need to be seven consecutive days?
No. The required seven-day non-payable waiting period does not need to be taken seven days in a row. For example, if care were provided one day per week, the seven-day waiting period would be served over a seven-week period. Benefits are payable once the seven days have been served and all other eligibility criteria are met.

May I require my employees to take all of their Paid Family Leave insurance benefits at one time?
No. The law does not establish a minimum number of hours or days or weeks that an employee must take Paid Family Leave insurance benefits. It only established the maximum leave time of six (6) paid weeks within a 12-month period.

Are employees required by law to use their vacation leave when collecting Disability or Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?
No, not for Disability Insurance, the law gives an employer the discretion (option) to require an employee to take up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave, when the employee is requesting Paid Family Leave. Employers should bear in mind, however, that this option does not relieve them of any collective-bargaining duties they may have with respect to vacation leave.

If our employees accrue Paid Time Off (PTO), rather than specific vacation or sick leave, may I require employees to use up to two weeks of PTO prior to the initial receipt of Paid Family Leave insurance benefits?
Yes. The law provides the option for employers to require up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave prior to the receipt of Paid Family Leave.

May I require employees who have not accumulated two weeks of vacation leave to use their earned but unused sick leave instead?
No. The law does not authorize employers to require the use of sick leave in lieu of vacation.

What constitutes a serious health condition for the purposes of Paid Family Leave?
A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition of a patient that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility. This includes any period of incapacity (e.g., inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities) or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or continuing treatment by a physician/practitioner. Unless complications arise, cosmetic treatments, the common cold, influenza, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, and headaches other than migraine, are examples of conditions that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition for purposes of Paid Family Leave.

Is a claimant eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits if he/she has to provide care for a sick relative (child, parent, spouse or registered domestic partner) that is out-of-state or out-of-the-country?
A claim may be submitted for Paid Family Leave benefits to care for a seriously ill child, parent, spouse, or registered domestic partner who is out of the state or out of the country. Benefits may be payable provided the medical certificate is properly completed, establishes a need for care, and a claimant is otherwise eligible.

Note: Beginning July 1, 2014,California workers may be eligible to receive Paid Family Leave benefits when taking take time off of work to care for a seriously ill parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling. For more information, view Senate Bill 770 (Chapter 350, Statutes of 2013).

Can an employee opt out of the Paid Family Leave insurance program?
No. Paid Family Leave is a component of State Disability Insurance and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.

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