In 2004, California made history as it forged the Paid Family Leave program (PFL) or more commonly known as Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) program. California is the first state in the U.S. to make their own PFL program, followed by two other states Washington and New Jersey.

The California Paid Family Leave functions similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as it also provides benefits to employees who take time offs from work because of medical reasons. However, employees would only be eligible to receive PFL benefits if they have contributed to a State Disability Insurance (SDI) program.

The following are some of the factors that come into play if an employee wants to receive PFL benefits:


  • You have a serious injury that needs treatment.

  • You need to take care of a family member because of a serious injury, illness, or disability.

  • You have a newborn child or you are handling legal papers on adoption.

Company requirements

All companies in California are covered by this program regardless of the number of employees they have. However, local and federal government agencies and companies are not covered by the Paid Family Leave program because they do not pay for SDI benefits.

Waiting period

Once an employee starts working, he would automatically be eligible to receive benefits from the PFL in case he needs to care for an ill loved one. He does not need to fulfill any kind of working period requirements.

Benefit duration

A qualified employee may receive Paid Family Leave benefits for six weeks of any 12-month period. Before the employee receives benefits, he should have been off work for at least 8 days.

Amount of benefits

For six weeks, the employee would receive approximately 55% of his base salary rate. The amount that a beneficiary would receive every week ranges from $50 to $840. The exact amount of benefits depends chiefly on his current and previous salary rates.

If you are an employee and you want to take a time off because of a sick family member, consider these factors as they would help you a lot in applying and receiving Paid Family Leave benefits. In the process, you will need to gather certain records such as your loved one's medical records as well as a copy of your pay slip.