The new year is always a time for new goals and new intentions. It’s often the time for resolutions to lose weight, save more money and finally clear out the clutter.
Although studies show most resolutions to hit the gym or break a bad habit fall short by the time February rolls around, there’s one resolution that can be fulfilled at any time throughout the year: resolving to be there for your family during the moments that matter.
Thanks to California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, eligible Californians can receive up to six weeks of paid benefits to either bond with a new child (including biological, foster, or adopted children) or to care for a seriously ill or injured family member (child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner).
In 2004, California was the first state in the nation to enact a PFL program and now, starting this month, the program is getting even better:
Eligible Californians can now get approximately 60 to 70 percent of their pay while on leave – the highest wage replacement rate in the nation – up to the $1,216 weekly maximum benefit amount.
The seven-day waiting period has been eliminated, meaning that benefits are payable starting on the first eligible day of leave.
Together, the benefit increase and the waiting period elimination are designed to encourage more people to use their PFL benefits by further easing the financial burden of taking time off from work.
It’s also important to remember that most Californians have already paid for PFL benefits. PFL is not a government assistance program; rather, it’s funded by mandatory paycheck deductions that more than 18 million Californians are paying to State Disability Insurance, noted as “CASDI” on most paystubs.
PFL also allows parents and caregivers to split their six weeks of leave over a 12-month period, providing additional flexibility for those who may need to provide care or bond with a child on a more intermittent basis or want to coordinate their leave with another family member.
These PFL benefits make the program a win for parents, caregivers, families and our state. So as we get to work on our new diets, our new budgets, and our new habits, let’s also make a commitment to take a new look at PFL and resolve to be with our families during the moments that matter most.
For more information about PFL, visit www.californiapaidfamilyleave.com.
By: Renee Gibson, Disability Insurance Branch, Deputy Director, Employment Development Department