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Employer Eligibility and Benefits FAQs

Yes, where your employee lives does not affect their eligibility. They may still be eligible if their job is based in California and they pay into State Disability Insurance (noted as CASDI on their paystub).

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

Many public and government agencies are not required by the California Unemployment Insurance Code to join the SDI Program. These employers may elect coverage for all employees, but an election by the appropriate governing board and a written petition signed by a majority of the employees is required. Employees may not join as individuals.

Public agency employers may elect coverage for:

  • Employees who are part of an appropriate bargaining unit. The election must result from a negotiated agreement.
  • Management and confidential employees.
  • Employees who are not part of an appropriate bargaining unit.

For more information visit the Public Entity Employers page and also view:

For further assistance on specialized coverage call:

  • EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886.
  • TTY users dial the California Relay Service at 711.

Many school district employers are not required by the California Unemployment Insurance Code to join the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. Public school and community college district employers must apply for and elect to join the SDI Program as a group. Employees may not join as individuals.

Public School employers may elect coverage for:

  • Employees who are part of a bargaining Unit and the election must result from a negotiated agreement.
  • Management and confidential employees.
  • Employees who are not part of an appropriate bargaining unit.

Community college districts may elect coverage for:

  • Employees who are part of an appropriate bargaining unit. The election must result from a negotiated agreement.
  • Management and confidential employees.
  • Employees who are not part of an appropriate bargaining unit.
  • Academic employees.

For more information visit the Public School Employers and School Employees Fund pages and view:

For further assistance on specialized coverage call:

  • EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886.
  • TTY users dial the California Relay Service at 711.

Tribal entities are not required by the California Unemployment Insurance Code to join the SDI program. Indian tribes may elect coverage for all employees but an election by the appropriate governing board and a written petition signed by a majority of the employees is required. Employees may not join as individuals.

Indian tribes (as described by Section 3306(u) of the Internal Revenue Code) may elect coverage for:

  • All employees employed in one or more distinct establishments or places of business.
  • Employees who are part of an appropriate bargaining unit. The election must result from a negotiated agreement.
  • Management and confidential employees.
  • Employees who are not part of an appropriate bargaining unit.

For more information visit the Indian Tribe Employers page and also view:

For further assistance on specialized coverage call:

  • EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886.
  • TTY users dial the California Relay Service at 711.

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.

For more information visit the Part-time/Intermittent/Reduced Work Schedule page.

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.

The Governor’s Executive Order N-25-20, signed March 12, 2020, waives the one-week unpaid waiting period for COVID-related DI claims with a start date of January 24, 2020, through September 30, 2021. Your employee can collect DI benefits for the first week they are out of work.

Note: The Governor’s Executive Order N-08-21, signed June 11, 2021, returns the requirement to serve the one-week unpaid waiting period for COVID-related DI claims with a start date on or after October 1, 2021. You can collect DI benefits starting on the eighth day you are out of work.

If you 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, 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. There are two exceptions:

There are two exceptions:

  • If you (the 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 your employee adheres 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, they may request an exemption. They must complete and mail the Religious Exemption Certificate (DE 5067) (PDF) to the address on the form. If they are granted this exemption, they will not be eligible to receive SDI benefits.

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 to learn more and view the full text of the PPLO.

Benefit payments are normally issued within two weeks from the date we receive a properly completed claim online or by mail. If we need additional information, more time may be needed to process their claim.

We calculate 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.

Learn More

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 (UI) 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. You can learn more from the Social Security Administration on Social Security disability eligibility requirements.
  • Other benefits, such as employer paid benefits for baby bonding, may affect Paid Family Leave benefits.

We treat 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.

Integration of Benefits

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.

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, we will send 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, we 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. We 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.

Register for Benefit Programs Online

Creating an account is an important step in this process. With Benefit Programs Online, you can apply for Disability Insurance and manage your claim in SDI Online.

Additional Resources

Can’t find what you are looking for? View these resources for more information.