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California’s PFL program extends wage replacement benefits

In the past, we’ve highlighted the risks that California workers face when they take time off to take care of their loved ones. While we have discussed how employers can find loopholes in the state’s laws to use against their workers, there is also the issue of employees not getting enough money during this vulnerable period. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, but not all of them are paid.

Many local workers are eligible for the paid family leave (PFL) program, which provides up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits to those who leave to take care of their relatives. However, the 2019-20 state budget recently signed by the governor expands these benefits up to eight weeks. Workers should know what this change will mean for them and their families.

Who does this affect?

The bill specifically states that these eight weeks of wage replacement benefits will go to workers that take time off to take care of seriously ill children, spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings and domestic partners. This can also help parents that recently adopted a child within one year of the birth, as they cannot apply for Pregnancy Disability Leave.

The governor notes how this brings them closer to their eventual goal of six months of paid family leave, as the two parents combined could have a total of four months’ worth of family temporary disability insurance benefits. This currently does not affect the length or benefits of CFRA or pregnancy disability leave.

These changes will go into effect on July 1, 2020. While these additional weeks can greatly benefit workers missing out on crucial payments during a relative’s time of need, employers may still try to find loopholes that could put their employment and financial futures at risk. Families should contact legal professionals with experience in dealing with California’s paid family leave benefits.

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