Benefits for California Paid Family Leave and San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Expand to Eight Weeks on July 1, 2020

Beginning July 1, 2020, California’s family temporary disability insurance program, also known as the paid family leave program (“PFL”), will provide partial wage replacement benefits for up to eight weeks in any 12-month period, which is an increase from the maximum of six weeks presently available.  The benefits are available for employee who take time off to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption.  For purposes of new child bonding, California touts the expanded leave benefit as providing each family with a total of four months of PFL – two months per parent.

PFL covers employees employed at organizations of any size.  Any employee who has contributed to the State Disability Insurance program during the past 18 months, and any self-employed worker, who has contributed to the Disability Insurance Elective Coverage program anytime in the past 18 month period, may apply for PFL benefits. 

In order to receive eight weeks of benefits, a claim for PFL must be filed on or after July 1, 2020.  For example, if a worker files a claim for PFL benefits before July 1, 2020, that worker is eligible only for a total of six weeks of benefits. 

As part of Senate Bill 83, the legislation authorizing the eight weeks of PFL benefits, a taskforce was created to develop a proposal to increase PFL to 12 weeks for each parent by 2021-22.  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic budgetary constraints, it is unclear whether that objective is on track.

While the stated purpose for Senate Bill 83 was to increase the time available for bonding with a new child, up to eight weeks of PFL benefits is also available for workers taking time off to care for a seriously ill family member, including one who is suffering from an illness due to COVID-19.

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (“PPLO”)

The San Francisco PPLO has been in existence since January 1, 2017 and requires a covered employer supplement the compensation of a covered employee, who is receiving PFL benefits for bonding with a new child. 

A “covered employer” has 20 or more employees worldwide. 

A “covered employee” is an employee:

  • Who began employment with the covered employer at least 180 days prior to the start of the leave period;
  • Who performs at least eight hours of work per week for the employer in San Francisco; and with at least 40% of whose total weekly hours are performed in San Francisco; and
  • Who is eligible to receive paid family leave compensation under the California Paid Family Leave law for the purpose of bonding with a new child.

Given the expansion of PFL benefits on July 1, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors amended the PPLO in April, 2020, providing up to eight weeks of supplemental compensation for leaves taken on or after July 1, 2020.  The existing exemption from the PPLO for employers, who have existing paid leave policies providing fully paid parental leave for at least six weeks, remains unchanged. 

Under the PPLO, covered employers are required to provide supplemental compensation in an amount such that the PFL wage replacement benefit plus the supplemental compensation equals 100% of the employee’s gross weekly wage, subject to a weekly maximum benefit cap.  The 2020 PPLO cap is $2,167 per week.

It should be noted that unlike the PFL, the PPLO only applies to a leave for bonding with a new child. 

Find instructions and worksheets for calculating PPLO supplemental compensation, here

If you have any questions about the PFL or the PPLO, contact the author or your regular counsel at AALRR.

This AALRR post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other AALRR publication does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Firm is not responsible for inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

© 2020 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

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