Paid Family Leave Benefits Increase in 2018
Here’s some news you can use – California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program is getting better next year, and that means changes that could impact your maternity leave starting January 1. For those who aren’t familiar with the program, PFL provides up to six weeks of partial pay for eligible Californians when they take time off from work to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill or injured relative.
Here are the five most important things to know about the program in the New Year:
1. California PFL will soon have the highest wage replacement rate in the country. California was the first state in the nation to establish a PFL program, and starting in January 2018, the program will offer between 60% and 70% of your pay while on leave, up to the $1,216 weekly maximum benefit. To estimate how much your benefits could be while on leave, try out this calculator tool.
2. The waiting period is no more. As of January 1, PFL will no longer require participants to be on leave for seven days before their benefits kick in. That means you’re eligible to apply for PFL benefits starting on your first day of leave. Learn more about starting a claim by clicking here.
3. More Californians will be able to take PFL to bond with a new child without fear of losing their job. Although the PFL program itself doesn’t offer job protections, Californians are often protected through other state and federal laws. In particular, the New Parental Leave Act, which goes into effect in January, requires small businesses with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child.
4. It’s your money. Literally. PFL benefits are funded by mandatory paycheck contributions you’ve already made into State Disability Insurance (noted as “CASDI” on paystubs), which means it’s your money. When you have a new child or need to care for an ill loved one, you can – and should – use the money that you have already put away for just this very purpose.
5. It’s not just for new parents. Don’t forget that PFL is not just for bonding with a new child! If your dad is having hip surgery in the coming months or your spouse is leaving the hospital and needs some extra care and help, know that PFL is there for you when you need it.
For more information about how California’s PFL program, visit www.CaliforniaPaidFamilyLeave.com.