FAQs – Employers Eligibility
Employees covered by SDI are also covered by PFL. If a Voluntary Plan Insurer provides your company’s disability insurance coverage, in lieu of SDI, then it must also provide PFL coverage.
- Does an employee have to work a minimum number of hours or days before becoming eligible for PFL benefits?
No. The PFL law does not require a minimum number of hours worked or days employed to qualify for benefits.
If your employees work part time and still have a wage loss due to a disability or family care or bonding need, they may receive benefits provided they are otherwise eligible. SDI, which includes DI and PFL is a wage loss benefit program, which means that individuals may be eligible for a portion of the benefit if they have a loss of wages and meet the other eligibility requirements.
- Does the seven day waiting period for Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) 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.
DI Only: If a claim is filed for the same or related cause or condition within 60 days of the initial claim, it will be processed as a continuation of the initial claim for which a waiting period was already served. There will not be a new waiting period in such cases.
No. The law does not require a minimum number of hours or days or weeks that an employee must take PFL benefits. It only established the maximum leave time of six paid weeks within a 12-month period.
No. Employees are not required to use vacation leave when receiving DI benefits. However, the law gives an employer the option to require an employee to take up to two weeks of earned, but unused, vacation leave, when the employee is requesting PFL. This option does not relieve employers 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 PFL 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 PFL benefits.
- 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 permit employers to require the use of sick leave instead of vacation.
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 PFL.
- Is an employee eligible for PFL benefits if they have to provide care for a sick relative (child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or registered domestic partner) that is out-of-state or out-of-the-country?
A claim may be submitted for PFL benefits to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, 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 the employee is otherwise eligible.
No. PFL is a component of the SDI program and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.