Currently, California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides eligible employees up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits during covered periods of family leave. On June 27, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newson signed Senate Bill 83, which expands these wage replacement benefits. Effective July 1, 2020, this law authorizes an additional two weeks of SDI wage replacement benefits—up to eight weeks total—for workers taking leave to:
Senate Bill 83 also requires the governor to propose further benefit increases, in terms of duration and amount, by November 2019. The law outlines its longer-term goal, which is to eventually increase SDI benefits to a 12-week maximum in 2021-22. Under this plan, two parents requesting consecutive leave periods could receive total paid family leave benefits for up to six months.
The bill states that the program expansion is designed to address the “goal of ensuring that newborns and newly adopted babies can be cared for by a parent or close family member for the first six months of their lives.”
The law also requires the governor to address and recommend additional job protections for individuals receiving paid family leave benefits.
Though the wage replacement benefits of paid family leave are primarily administered by the state, employers may wish to use it as an opportunity to review the leave administration aspects of their internal policies and procedures for accuracy and compliance.
Changes brought about by Senate Bill 83 will have to be communicated properly throughout the entire organization. Systems, employee handbooks, policy manuals, and any other documentation must be updated to reflect these changes.
California is just one of many states making changes to paid family leave laws, which means employers should continuously monitor the changes to ensure they’re adhering to state laws. This is particularly important for organizations operating in more than one state, as they will have to monitor legislative changes for multiple regions.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should review with your legal advisors how the laws identified in this post may apply to your specific situation.