Paid Family Leave Benefits

Drew Lewis

Employment Law Attorney
Last Updated:

Paid Family Leave provides temporary wage replacement for workers who are forced to take off work because they are seriously ill or because they need to care of a seriously ill family members.

Article Contents:

Section #1: Who is eligible for paid family leave?

Who is eligible for paid family leave?

Paid Family Leave is available to persons currently employed as well as workers who are unemployed but who are searching for work. To be eligible for paid family leave, workers must meet the following requirements:
The “base period” is a 12-month period preceding your claim filing used to determine your weekly benefit award. This is explained below under “How Much is Paid Family Leave?”
Section #2: Which workers are not eligible for paid sick leave.

Which workers are not eligible for paid sick leave.

Paid Family Leave only provides eight weeks of partial wage replacement during a 12-month period. Employees who have utilized paid family leave during the previous 12-month period to care for a seriously ill family members or to bond with a newborn or adopted child will have their wage replacement reduced by the number of days they have used during the past 12 months.
Example 1:
Jane requests and is granted six weeks Paid Family Leave for baby bonding beginning on February 10, 2019. Jane later requests Paid Family Leave on January 12, 2020 in order to take care of a sick family member. Jane is ineligible to receive Paid Family Leave because she has already received the maximum amount during the preceding 12 months. Jane will not be eligible for additional paid leave until February 10, 2020.
Example 2:
John requests and is granted three weeks of Paid Family Leave beginning on Nov 21, 2019. On February 17, 2020 John requested four weeks of Paid Family Leave related to Coronavirus. John is granted only three weeks of paid leave because he has already used three weeks during the last 12 months.

Independent contractors & self-employed individuals

Self-employed workers and independent contractors are not eligible to receive paid family leave. However, a self-employed person or independent contractor who can satisfy the base period earnings requirement and who is looking for work at the time they file a claim, they might be eligible to receive paid leave.

When other family members are available to provide care

An individual is not eligible for Paid Family Leave if another family member is ready, willing, and able and available to provide care during the same period of time in a day that the individual is providing care.
The list of individuals this applies to includes:
An individual who fits into one of these categories will not be considered “able” if he or she has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits him/her from providing the necessary care.
Under some circumstances, a family member providing care is ineligible because another family member is able and willing to provide care to the same individual. However, if the time during which the care providers are planning to provide care do not overlap, then both are eligible for paid family leave.
Jane and Jane’s brother Sam need to help care for their ill mother. Jane works the day shift at her job while Sam is assigned the night shift. Their schedules do not overlap. Even though both are available to provide care, because the care would cover two different time periods during the day, both Jane and Sam are eligible for paid leave.
The care recipient’s doctor will be required to certify the number of hours necessary for care.
Section #3: How much is paid family leave?

How much is paid family leave?

If your request for paid leave is granted, the EDD will provide you between $50 and $1,300 per week for up to eight weeks.
The amount you receive is calculated according to your highest wage-earring quarter during a 12-month period (the “base period”) occurring in the 5 to 18 months before you file a claim. The EDD will determine the highest of your four wage-earning quarters during this base period as illustrated below.
Start with the quarter in which you will be filing your claim. Once you have determined when you will be filing your claim, add up all of your wages for each of the four applicable quarters (the “base period” quarters; see above in gray).
After adding all your wages for the applicable quarters, take the total wages for the highest-earning quarter and find the corresponding amount in the left column in the table below. Immediately to the right of that column is the corresponding weekly benefit amount you can expect to receive.
Note, in households where there are multiple working parents, each parent is entitled to his or her own separate claim to paid leave. However, the paid leave must be taken at different times.
Section #4: How do I apply for paid family leave?

How do I apply for paid family leave?

The California Employment Development Department (“EDD”) administers the paid family leave claim process. Claims can be filed online here or by mailing a paper application (here is the sample form).
The EDD has strict requirements and so all workers should carefully review the department’s website (including the links provided for convenience immediately above) to ensure they are following the filing process correctly.

When do claims need to be filed?

Claims for paid family leave do not need to be filed prior to taking leave or even immediately after. It must be filed no later than the 41st day following the first day for which the paid leave is being sought.
Claims made by eligible workers do not require approval of their employer, though their employer will be notified of the claim for paid family leave.

What information is required when filing a claim?

Workers filing claims need to be prepared to provide the following information as part of their application:
Additionally, for employees seeking paid leave based on care of seriously ill family members, they must provide two additional EDD forms:
Finally, you should be prepared to report your wage earnings for the relevant base period. The EDD requires reporting of the following income:

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