FAQs - Employers Eligibility
- If my employee pays into State Disability Insurance but doesn’t live in California, are they still eligible for benefits?
Yes. Where your employee lives does not affect their eligibility.
No. Employers do not pay for State Disability Insurance, which is funded through mandatory employee payroll contributions.
Employees covered by State Disability Insurance (SDI) are also covered by Paid Family Leave (PFL). If a Voluntary Plan Insurer provides your company’s disability insurance coverage, in lieu of SDI, then it must also provide PFL coverage.
No. The current maximum taxable wage can be found on the Disability Quick Statistics page. Wages in excess of this cap are exempt from State Disability Insurance withholding.
- Does an employee have to work a minimum number of hours or days before becoming eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits?
No. The Paid Family Leave 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. State Disability Insurance, which includes DI and Paid Family Leave 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.
No. The required seven-day non-payable waiting period does not need to be taken seven days in a row. For example, if you worked full duty for four days and were unable to work 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.
If another DI 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.
Paid Family Leave does not have a waiting period for benefits.
No. The law does not require a minimum number of hours or days or weeks that an employee must take Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. It only established the maximum leave time of six paid weeks within a 12-month period.
Note: Effective July 1, 2020, PFL extends the total claim timeframe from six weeks to eight weeks. PFL provides working Californians the ability to take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.
Individuals may choose to delay filing their PFL claim until July 1, 2020, or after to receive the extended leave benefit.
- Are employees required by law to use their vacation leave when collecting Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave benefits?
No. Employees are not required to use vacation leave when receiving Disability Insurance 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 Paid Family Leave. 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, rather than specific vacation or sick leave, may I require employees to use up to two weeks prior to the initial receipt of Paid Family Leave benefits?
Yes. The law provides the option for employers to require up to two weeks of earned but unused paid time off leave prior to the receipt of Paid Family Leave 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.
Paid Family Leave defines “seriously ill” as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that requires:
- At-home care or in-patient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.
- Continuing treatment by a physician or health care 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 Paid Family Leave 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?
Yes. A claim may be submitted for Paid Family Leave 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. Paid Family Leave is a component of the State Disability Insurance program and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.