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California Extends Paid Family Leave from 6 Weeks to 8 Weeks

Beginning on July 1, 2020, California will extend the maximum duration of Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits from six weeks to eight weeks. Individuals may receive benefits from California’s state disability insurance (SDI) program:

  • To care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner.

  • To bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child through foster care or adoption.

The PFL program is not a leave right and does not provide job protection, but other state and federal laws such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Parental Leave law can provide such protection for eligible employees.

The PFL program started in July 2004 and provides wage replacement to workers who take time off from work for an ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or domestic partner, or to bond with a child within one year of birth or adoption. Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the most recent enactment, Senate Bill 83, on June 27, 2019. Senate Bill 83 was part of a larger state budget package for the new fiscal year that starts July 1, and is a move toward the governor’s goal of ultimately expanding paid family leave to six months (for two parents if leave is taken consecutively). To that end, Senate Bill 83 also requires the governor to propose, by November 2019, further benefit increases and job protections for individuals receiving PFL benefits, including an increase in PFL duration “to a full six months by 2021–22.”

In the next year, before Senate Bill 83’s extension takes effect, employers should consider reviewing and revising leave policies, procedures and practices, and their parental or other paid leave benefits to ensure compliance.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 204


About this Author

Erin Kendrella Labor Employment Attorney

Erin W. Kendrella is an Associate in the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her litigation practice focuses on individual and class action labor and employment-related matters in state and federal courts.

Ms. Kendrella advises and represents businesses of all sizes in a broad range of employment law matters, including those involving discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, wrongful termination, and retaliation claims. She also advises managers and supervisors on preventive litigation practices, concentrating on how to comply with...