California Extends Paid Family Leave Benefits from Six to Eight Weeks

On June 27, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 83, expanding paid family leave (PFL) benefits from a maximum of six weeks to eight weeks under California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. The law will take effect on July 1, 2020, and includes a provision for Gov. Newsom to “develop a proposal to increase paid family leave duration to a full six months by 2021–22, for parents to care for and bond with their newborn or newly adopted child” by November 2019. Although PFL does not currently provide for job-protected leave (employers must consider an employee’s eligibility for job-protected leave under other laws, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act, or the California New Parent Leave Act), the proposal “must assess and address job protections for employees” in addition to “wage replacement rates up to 90 percent for low-wage workers and provide a plan to implement and fund expanded paid family leave benefits.”

Employers are encouraged to review any leave policies, including paid leave benefits, to ensure compliance with the expansion of this law.