Employer Eligibility and Benefits FAQs

No. Employers do not pay for State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits. The SDI program is funded entirely through mandatory employee payroll contributions.

State Disability Insurance (SDI) includes both Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits. If your company uses SDI, your employees are covered by both benefits.

If your company uses a Voluntary Plan Insurer instead of SDI for disability insurance coverage, then the Voluntary Plan must also provide Paid Family Leave coverage.

No. The law does not require a minimum number of hours worked or days employed to qualify for benefits. However, your employee must have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance deductions were withheld during their claim base period.

If your employees work part-time and still have a wage loss due to a disability or family leave, they may receive benefits provided they are otherwise eligible. State Disability Insurance, which includes Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave is a wage loss benefit program, which means that individuals may be eligible for a portion of the benefit if they have a loss of wages and meet the other eligibility requirements.

No. The required seven-day non-payable waiting period does not need to be taken seven days in a row. For example, if your employee worked full duty for four days and was unable to work one day per week, the seven-day waiting period would be served over a seven-week period. Benefits are payable once the seven days have been served and all other eligibility criteria are met.

Note: Under current COVID-19 guidelines, claims submitted by persons infected with, suspected of being infected with, or quarantined due to COVID-19 and certified by a physician practitioner or state or county health official as being due to COVID-19, the Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so your employee can collect DI benefits for the first week they are out of work. If they are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

If another Disability Insurance claim is filed for the same or related cause or condition within 60 days of the initial claim, it will be processed as a continuation of the initial claim for which a waiting period was already served. There will not be a new waiting period in such cases.

Note: Paid Family Leave does not have a waiting period for benefits.

No. The law does not require a minimum number of hours, days, or weeks that an employee must take Paid Family Leave benefits, it only established the maximum leave time of 8 paid weeks within a 12-month period.

Employees are not required to use vacation, paid time off, or sick leave when receiving Disability Insurance benefits.

However, when the employee is requesting Paid Family Leave (PFL), the law gives an employer the option to require an employee to take up to two weeks of earned, but unused, vacation leave and/or paid time off (PTO) prior to receiving PFL. This option does not relieve employers of any collective-bargaining duties they may have with respect to vacation leave.

The law does not permit employers to require the use of sick leave instead of vacation.

Yes. A claim may be submitted for Paid Family Leave benefits to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner who is out of the state or out of the country. Benefits may be payable provided the medical certificate is properly completed, establishes a need for care, and the employee is otherwise eligible.

No. The State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code. The exception would be if the employer or a majority of employees applied for approval of a Voluntary Plan in place of SDI coverage. For more information visit: Voluntary Plan Information.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO) in April 2016. The ordinance requires employers to provide supplemental compensation to employees who are receiving California Paid Family Leave (PFL) for purposes of bonding with a new child through birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

During the leave period, covered employers are required to provide supplemental compensation so that the PFL compensation plus the supplemental compensation equals 100 percent of their employee’s gross weekly wage. Employers with 50 or more employees had to comply with the ordinance by January 1, 2017; employers with 35 or more employees by July 1, 2017; and employers with 20 or more employees by January 1, 2018.

Visit the City and County of San Francisco, Office of Labor Standards Enforcement website, to view the full text of the PPLO.

Benefit payments are normally issued within two weeks of the EDD receiving a properly completed claim online or by mail; however, if we need additional information, more time may be needed to process their claim.

The EDD calculates the weekly benefit amount based on the calendar quarter with the highest earnings in your employee’s base period. The base period will include the employee wages paid approximately 5 to 18 months before the claim begins. The wages must be subject to the State Disability Insurance tax. The base period does not include wages paid at the time the claim begins.

For more information, visit Calculating (DI) Benefit Payment Amounts and Calculating (PFL) Benefit Payment Amounts.

In general, your employees may not receive Disability Insurance (DI) or Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits at the same time they are receiving Unemployment Insurance or workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are exceptions:

  • If your employee’s weekly workers’ compensation benefit amount is less than their weekly DI or PFL benefit amount, they may be eligible to receive the difference between the two rates.
  • Your employees may receive Social Security disability at the same time as DI, but it may reduce the amount of DI benefits they receive. For Social Security Administration eligibility requirements, visit the SSA website.
  • Other benefits, such as employer paid benefits for baby bonding, may affect Paid Family Leave benefits.

The EDD treats sick leave wages as wages earned. Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits will be reduced by the amount of sick leave wages received, and may render the employee ineligible for benefits depending on the amount of sick leave wages received and the employee’s weekly benefit amount.

If you integrate the sick leave (pay the employee sick leave wages in an amount which is the difference between the SDI benefit and the employee's full wage), the sick leave benefits received by the employee will not affect the DI or PFL benefit.

For more information, visit Integration of Benefits.

Disability Insurance (DI) benefits are not reportable for tax purposes with one exception: If your employee is receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, becomes unable to work due to a disability, and begins receiving DI benefits, their DI benefits are treated as a substitute for their UI benefits. The DI benefits will then be reportable for tax purposes.

If DI benefits are reportable, the EDD sends a notice to your employee with the first benefit payment explaining that the benefits are being reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In January, the EDD will send the employee a 1099G form showing the reportable amounts paid (no more than the original UI maximum) and forward a copy of the 1099G to the IRS.

Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits are reportable for federal tax purposes, but not state tax purposes. The EDD will provide your employee with a 1099G form and forward a copy of the 1099G to the IRS. PFL benefits are not taxable or reportable to the California State Franchise Tax Board.