The primary reason why employees take a leave from work is because of a disability or illness that they are experiencing. However, some people, especially employees who are also parents, may want to take a leave to fulfill their responsibility to their families. Mothers who just gave birth would want to take care of their newly-born child for a longer time, while fathers may want attend to the needs of their very ill son or daughter.
Thus, the state of California enacted the first-ever Paid Family Leave program in their law. It was passed on September 23, 2002 and was made effective on July 1, 2004 for employees who want to take time off work to care for a newborn child or a family member with serious health condition. The California Paid Family Leave, otherwise known as Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI), is incorporated with the State Disability program.
FTDI benefits are funded through payroll deduction, which is why on January 1, 2004, the amount that employees had to pay for their SDI increased. The benefits are considered as wage replacement which will cover the period wherein the worker is on leave, usually for six weeks. It will replace up to 55 percent of the employees' wages.
To be eligible for the Paid Family Leave, an employee must meet some of these requirements:
- The only valid reasons for filing a Paid Family Leave are:
- To take care of an ill family member.
- To spend some more time with a newborn or adopted child.
- The employee's own sickness or injury.
- New mothers who have SDI are also eligible for it.
- The employee is working for a company that has one or more employees. State and local government employees are exempted because they do not pay for SDI. Self-employed employees are eligible if they applied for SDI.
- Employers will require employees to submit a medical document to prove that the leave is necessary and that no one else is available to take care of the sick family member.
- Employers may require their employee to use two weeks of vacation leave first before the paid family leave is made effective. There is a one-week waiting period before the employee can receive benefits.
- To qualify for the $50 minimum weekly amount, the employee should be earning at least $300 in wages in base period.