California Paid Family and Medical Leave guide

What are state paid family and medical leave laws?

State paid family and medical leave laws provide for paid leave from work for eligible employees based on certain qualifying life events, such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for oneself or a family member who is experiencing a serious medical condition, or to care for a family member injured while on active duty in the military, among others. Employees receive a weekly benefit which represents a portion of their regular compensation based upon a state created formula.

We've compiled a review of California's Paid Family and Medical Leave to ensure you're aware of key upcoming dates and the requirements to ensure your compliance.

California Paid Family and Medical Leave


*Effective January 1, 2021, paid family leave will be expanded to include a new category called Military Assist, which will be available to employees who need to take leave due to a qualifying circumstance related to the military deployment of a spouse, registered domestic partner, or child to a foreign country.

Please Note: California Paid Family Leave applies to all California employers, regardless of size of workforce.

  • Employee Eligibility Criteria:
    • California workers who have a loss of wages when they are unable to work due to a qualifying event, and who have paid into the State Disability Insurance fund.
    • Wages used to calculate an employee’s weekly benefit based on past 5 to 18 months before claim start date.
    • Employees must earn at least $300.00 in wages during the period above in order to qualify.
  • Weekly Benefit Amount:
    • Employees receive approximately 60-70% of their weekly salary ($50.00-$1,300.00 per week for all claims post January 1, 2020).
  • Employee and/or Employer Contributions to the program:
    • 100% employee contributions through payroll deduction by means of a State Disability Insurance (SDI) tax of 1% of employee wages.
  • Duration of Leave:
    • 8 weeks of Paid Family Leave and up to 52 weeks of Disability Insurance benefits.
  • Qualifying events making employees/participants eligible for leave:
    • To care for oneself with a serious health condition or for a seriously ill family member.
    • Bond with a new child after birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
  • Other relevant Information:
    • Benefit amount can vary if the employee receives other income during leave such as PTO or paid sick leave.
    • Employers or majority of employees may apply for approval of a Voluntary Plan providing for Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits in place of the mandated State Disability Insurance coverage.
    • Notice Requirement: Employers must post notices in prominent location and provide notice of Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave as appropriate.

Please visit California’s paid family leave website for more information and additional resources. Additional information for California’s disability insurance program can be accessed here.


Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.

Megan Butz

By Megan Butz
General Counsel, HR Compliance, Checkwriters
Megan joined Checkwriters in 2020 and is responsible for reviewing, revising, and implementing internal policies of the company, advising on human resource, employment, and labor matters, and monitoring and publishing state and federal legal updates to the Checkwriters News and Compliance Center for distribution to thousands of clients around the country. Before joining Checkwriters, Megan served as a judicial law clerk for the justices of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court performing legal research and writing, followed by private practice in Cape Cod.

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