NR No. 23-21
Contact: Loree Levy/Aubrey Henry
SACRAMENTO- In recognition of Mother’s Day, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is celebrating the ongoing success of California’s historic Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which allows eligible claimants to receive partial replacement of their work wages while attending to family-related matters, for a period of up to eight weeks. Over nearly 20 years, EDD’s first-of-kind PFL program has paid more than $14 billion in wage replacement benefits on more than 4 million claims so Californians can take time off work to bond with a new child, care for an ill family member, or to help during a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country.
“California’s Paid Family Leave program can help reduce financial stress while allowing workers to take time off to be with family during a critical time in their lives,” says EDD Director, Nancy Farias. “This program is an important benefit for families, their communities, and California as a whole.”
While the most common use of PFL benefits has been for bonding with a new child (83 percent), PFL claims filed to care for a seriously ill family member and claims supporting family members during a foreign military deployment have continued to grow over time.
In 2022 alone, bonding claims increased by 11 percent, and care claims rose 19 percent overall. Despite the growth of the PFL program, one of the biggest barriers to Californians using the PFL program to support their families is simply not knowing it’s there and that covered workers actually pay for these benefits through deductions noted as CASDI on their paystubs.
Surveys show that the majority of the state’s population is unaware of the benefits this valuable program provides and that their paycheck deductions support. This Mother’s Day, the EDD encourages expectant and new mothers, as well as those providing care to family members, to learn more about this essential benefit program by visiting https://edd.ca.gov/en/disability/paid-family-leave/mothers/.
California was the first state to implement a PFL program in 2004; now thirteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted paid family leave laws. The program was expanded in early 2021 to provide financial assistance to military families who can now file for a Military Assist PFL claim. A military assist claim provides wage replacement benefits to eligible Californians who need time off work because of a family member’s (spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child) active military deployment to a foreign country.
A qualifying event for PFL benefits can include taking time off to attend an event or manage an essential need such as making childcare or parental care arrangements, attending military sponsored events, or making legal or financial arrangements.
If eligible, Californians can receive payment for up to eight weeks within a twelve-month period. PFL benefit payments provide approximately 60 to 70 percent of the weekly wages earned in the 5-to-18-month period before the start date of their claim.