FAQs - Paid Family Leave Eligibility

You may be eligible for Paid Family Leave if you:

  • Are a part-time or full-time employee of the public or private sector who has contributed to the State Disability Insurance program or a self-employed Californian who has contributed to the Disability Insurance Elective Coverage Program at some point during the previous 18 months.
  • Have a loss of wages because you need to take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member, bond with a new child, or participate in a family member’s qualifying military event.

Visit Eligibility Requirements to learn more.

Yes. To use Paid Family Leave benefits intermittently while working part time, check “yes” to question A13 on the Claim for Paid Family Leave Benefits (DE 2501F) form or “yes” to question 6 on the Claim for Paid Family Leave (Paid Family Leave ) Benefits – New Mother (DE 2501FP) form. If filing online, check “yes” to the question, “Will you work at any time during your family leave?” You should also attach a detailed note to your claim form explaining which days you will work and the number of hours to be worked each day.

Yes, if you voluntarily quit your job to care for a family member with a serious health condition, you can receive PFL if you are eligible and submit a timely claim.

To be eligible, you must have paid into the State Disability Insurance Fund during your base period, and you must experience a wage loss because of your need to care for your seriously ill parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, sibling, parent-in-law, grandchild, or grandparent.  You also must be attached to the labor market before your PFL claim, which means 90 days before the start of your PFL claim. You must be employed, looking or registered for work, or have an active Unemployment Insurance or Disability Insurance claim. You will need to provide a medical certification documenting your family member’s illness. Find more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply here.

Yes, but not at the same time. If you voluntarily quit your job to care for an ill family member, you should first apply for PFL benefits (see FAQ above.) If you are still unemployed after your final PFL benefit payment, you can then apply for unemployment benefits as long as you are still out of work, ready and available to accept work, and otherwise eligible for UI. 

To be eligible for UI, you will have to show “good cause” for voluntarily quitting work due to compelling caregiving responsibilities. This means you had a compelling caregiving responsibility that caused you to quit your job and you took reasonable steps to preserve your job before quitting.  Compelling caregiving responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • A member of your family is seriously ill, disabled, or in danger of death.
  • You need to move to care for a family member who is seriously ill or disabled, making it impossible or impractical for you to commute to work.
  • You need to attend a funeral, make final arrangements, or attend to the final affairs of a member of your family who has died.
  • A member of your family is elderly and unable to care for their self.
  • Your minor child requires care/supervision and there is no reasonable alternative.
  • There is a need to preserve family unity.

To establish “good cause,” you will also have to show that you quit your job for a compelling reason (e.g., quit to take care of a family member and no one else was available to provide care). Additionally, before quitting, you will also need to show you took reasonable steps to preserve your job—meaning, you first asked your employer for a leave of absence, accommodation, or transfer that would have allowed you to keep your job and care for your family member.  If you attempted to preserve your job by asking for a leave of absence, accommodation, or transfer, but your employer did not have these options available, this would still demonstrate you attempted to preserve your employment before quitting.

No. The State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.

There are two exceptions:

  • If your employer or a majority of employees in your company apply for approval of a Voluntary Plan in place of SDI coverage. For more information visit: Voluntary Plan Information.
  • If you adhere to the faith or teaching of a bona fide religious sect, denomination, or organization whose creed, tenets, or principles require dependence on prayer for healing you may request an exemption. Complete and mail the Religious Exemption Certificate (DE 5067) to the address on the form. If you are granted this exemption, you will not be eligible to receive SDI benefits.

The EDD makes every effort to process your Paid Family Leave (PFL) payment within 14 days of receiving your complete initial claim. Your employer may require that you use up to two weeks of vacation leave or paid time off (PTO) prior to receiving Paid Family Leave benefits. Paid Family Leave benefits can start immediately after your vacation leave/PTO ends.

A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, or at home. This includes any period of incapacity (e.g., inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities) or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or continuing treatment by a physician or practitioner.

Unless complications arise, cosmetic treatments, the common cold, influenza, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, and headaches other than migraines, are examples of conditions that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition for the purposes of Paid Family Leave.

Yes. A Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant can certify for all medical conditions within their scope of practice after they have performed a physical examination and collaborated with a physician and/or surgeon.

Not necessarily. Your employer may require you to take up to two weeks of unused vacation leave and/or PTO before receiving Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits, but you should check with your human resources department first, since all employers are different. That said, your employer cannot require you to use sick leave before receiving PFL benefits.

You may be able to take unused sick leave and receive PFL benefits at the same time, but the combined benefits cannot exceed 100 percent of your regular earnings or your PFL benefits will be reduced by the amount of sick leave wages received. For more information about coordinating PFL with sick leave, DI, or other benefits, visit the FAQs – Integration/Coordination of SDI Benefits page.

Yes. The care recipient’s treating physician/practitioner must provide medical certification establishing a need for care.

Yes. More than one family member can file a claim to assist for the same event if the two claims are for different time periods and do not overlap.

However, more than one individual cannot be eligible for benefits at the same time for the same military family member and the same military event.

Yes. Eligible family members can file a Paid Family Leave claim for different qualifying events at the same time.

For example: The father files a claim to attend the military ceremony and the mother files a claim to handle childcare during the same period of time.

A family member can file for benefits to assist more than one actively serving military family members for any qualifying event for up to eight weeks total during the same 12-month period. However, the family member must provide new military documentation each time the military member being assisted changes.

School employees are not eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits if:

  • Full wages were or will be paid to the employee during the contract period when services were performed.
  • A period of family leave overlaps with a school break and the employee is not scheduled to work, does not have a history of working during the break, or does not have an additional employer.
  • The family leave period extends through the school break period.

However, if the employee is not receiving wages but would have been working for extra income if not on family leave (such as teaching summer school classes, tutoring, or other secondary job), then the employee may be eligible for benefits to replace the additional income.