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California Extends Paid Family Leave

Beginning on July 1, 2020 the state of California will extend the maximum duration of Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits from six weeks to eight weeks.

California Governor Gavin Newson signed Senate Bill 83 into law on June 27, 2019. In signing SB 83, the governor fulfills a campaign promise to expand the state’s paid family leave benefits. SB 83 also requires the governor to propose, by November 2019, further benefit increases – in terms of duration and amount – and job protections for individuals receiving PFL benefits.

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.

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.

During the one-year period before SB 83’s extension takes effect, employers may consider reviewing leave policies, procedures and practices, and their parental or other paid leave benefits.

Businesses with San Francisco operations also should monitor activity of the Board of Supervisors to see whether, and how, it may amend the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance in response to these state-level changes.

Additionally, companies with Los Angeles operations should monitor activity of the L.A. City Council, which is currently exploring adopting an ordinance (similar to San Francisco’s) that would require employers to provide up to 18 weeks of supplemental compensation to employees receiving State Disability Insurance (SDI) or PFL benefits prior to the birth of a child and/or for recovery from birth and for new child bonding.