California - Paid Family Leave (PFL)

California - Paid Family Leave (PFL) - who and what is covered?

What is Paid Family Leave?

Paid Family Leave (PFL) is an extension of California's State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and extends replacement income to workers who need to take time off to care for a new child or a seriously ill family member.

In effect: July 1, 2004


6 weeks of wage replacement benefits during a benefit year period (52 weeks) to workers who need time to take care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, or to bond with a newborn child, adopted child or foster child - Bonding claims may be requested only during the first 12 months of parenting. 


- Workers (full time and part time) who are covered by SDI are also covered for PFL.

- State government employees if they are covered by SDI through a negotiated agreement between the State of California and a recognised employee organisation.

Proof needed to obtain PFL?

- Caregiver claims: the claimant is responsible to obtain the medical documentation necessary 

- Bonding claims: the claimant is responsible to provide proof of child/parenting relationship.

Not eligible for PFL?

- If you receive Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, or Workers’ Compensation benefits that exceed your weekly benefit amount.

- If another family member is able and available for the same period of time that you are providing the required care.

- Failure to have an independent medical examination when requested to.

Job protection?

PFL does not protect a job, it only provides partial wage replacement when you can't work due to the care of serious ill family members or bonding with your newborn. You may have your job protected under other laws, such as FMLA and CFRA.

PFL and other leave acts:

- If you are entitled to leave under the federal FMLA and the California Family Rights Act you must take PFL concurrent with leave taken under those acts.

- The law provides the option for employers to require up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave before receiving PFL benefits. 

- The law does not authorise employers to require the use of sick leave in lieu of vacation. 

How to apply?

- The Claim for PFL Benefits, DE 2501F (English) or DE 2501F/S (Spanish) and the Paid Family Leave informational brochure, DE 2511 (English) or DE 2511/S (Spanish) may be obtained online at or by calling 1-877-238-4373.  Claimants can apply for benefits online through their SDI online account at or by requesting a claim form by calling 1-877-238-4373.

- You must complete and mail a claim form within 49 days of the first day of your bonding leave or you may lose benefits.   


The PFL benefits are subject to federal income taxes, but not subject to California income taxes

Payment of PFL:

For claims beginning on or after January 1, 2014, weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,075. To qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount ($1,075) an individual must earn at least $25,385.46 in a calendar quarter during the base period.

Who pays for PFL?

The program is revenue-neutral, funded solely through employee contributions. 

Sources and more info at:

Employment Development Department - Fact sheet Paid Family Leave

Employment Development Department - Paid Family Leave Information

Updated: Feb. 2016

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