FAQs – Paid Family Leave (PFL) Eligibility
You may be eligible for PFL if you are:
- A part- or full-time public- or private-sector employee who has contributed to the State Disability Insurance program through mandatory payroll deductions at some point during the previous 18 months,
A self-employed Californian who has contributed to the Disability Insurance Elective Coverage Program at some point during the previous 18 months,
- A mother, father, or an adoptive or foster parent who is earning less or no money because of time taken off from work to bond with a new child,
An individual who is earning less or no money because of time taken off from work to care for a seriously ill family member (child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner).
Read about Eligibility Requirements to learn more.
Yes. To use PFL benefits intermittently while working part time, check “yes” to question A13 on the Claim for PFL Benefits (DE 2501F) form or “yes” to question 6 on the Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits – New Mother (DE 2501FP) form. If filing online, check “yes” to the question, “Will you work at any time during your family leave?” You should also attach a detailed note to your claim form explaining which days you will work and the number of hours to be worked each day.
Unless you are a new mother transitioning from Disability Insurance to PFL, you must be off work for more than seven days in order to receive benefits. There is a mandatory seven-day waiting period before PFL benefits can begin, but the seven days do not need to be consecutive. Your employer may also require that you use up to two weeks of vacation leave or paid time off (PTO) prior to receiving PFL benefits; however, this vacation leave/PTO can be applied to the waiting period, meaning PFL benefits can start immediately after your vacation leave/PTO ends.
A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, or at home. 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 or practitioner. Unless complications arise, cosmetic treatments, the common cold, influenza, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, and headaches other than migraines, are examples of conditions that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition for the purposes of PFL.
- I have accrued employer-provided sick leave, vacation time, and/or PTO. Do I have to take this leave before becoming eligible for and/or applying for PFL?
Not necessarily. Your employer may require you to take up to two weeks of unused vacation leave and/or PTO before receiving PFL benefits, but you should check with your human resources department first, since all employers are different. That said, your employer cannot require you to use sick leave before receiving PFL benefits.
You may be able to take unused sick leave and receive PFL benefits at the same time, but the combined benefits cannot exceed 100 percent of your regular earnings or your PFL benefits will be reduced by the amount of sick leave wages received. For more information about coordinating PFL with sick leave, DI, or other benefits, visit the FAQs – Integration/Coordination of SDI Benefits page.
- Am I eligible for PFL benefits if I care for a family member that is out-of-state or out-of-the-country?
Yes. The care recipient’s treating physician/practitioner must provide medical certification establishing a need for care.