One critical aspect of labor laws in California is employee leave and paid time off. In particular, there is the California Paid Leave and a proposed supplement to that requirement by the city and county of San Francisco.
As of January 2016, workers eligible for California Paid Family Leave can take up to six weeks of paid time off at 55% of their weekly wages up to a maximum weekly benefit amount to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. The weekly benefit amount is determined by using the employee’s highest-earning calendar quarter during an approximately 12-month base period.
As of January 2016, the maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,129. To qualify for this maximum weekly benefit amount, an individual must earn at least $26,070.92 in a calendar quarter during the base period.
Paid Family Leave Labor Laws in California
Now the city and county of San Francisco is considering a supplemental addition to the state law for providing paid family leave. The legislation currently being reviewed is known as Article 33H.
This Article 33H is intended to supplement the California Paid Family Leave partial wage replacement by providing compensation that, in combination with the California Paid Family Leave payment, will total 100% of an employee’s weekly salary, subject to a weekly maximum benefit amount, during the six-week leave period, to help ensure that concern over loss of income does not preclude parents in San Francisco from bonding with their new child.
The proposed legislation would require an employer to pay the remaining 45% of an employee's salary for this 6 weeks of bonding time. As written, the mandate would fall on employers with more than 20 employees. An employee would qualify by working for an employer for 90 days, at least 8 hours a week.
California's Paid Family Leave Legacy
In 2002, California became the first state in the United States to establish a Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. This is a family leave insurance program that provides income replacement to eligible workers for family caregiving or bonding with a new child. The program went into effect on July 1, 2004.
Workers who contribute to the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) fund are entitled to six weeks of partial pay each year while taking time off from work to:
- Bond with a newborn baby, adopted or foster child
- Care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner
In July 2014, the law was expanded to include care for additional family members—siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law.
How It Works
If an employee contributes to the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) fund, he or she is eligible to receive income replacement through two state-run insurance programs:
- Disability Insurance (DI) when you are on leave for your own disability or illness, including pregnancy-related disabilities
- Paid Family Leave (PFL) when you are on leave to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child
Being Well Informed Is The Best Defense for California Employers
Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is never a good defense when it comes to labor laws in California. While no employer deliberately or maliciously violates the law, lack of information or failing to stay up to date can lead to serious issues.
Having professional help is always a plus and HR managers and staff can use all the help they can get in today's increasingly complex work environment.
Considering a Third Party Ally
An updated compliance strategy will help your organization meet its obligations, while providing accuracy and timeliness. So take time to understand the law and prioritize accurate record keeping. In this way, you will make compliance a sure thing.
Another key step in maintaining HR compliance and increasing your company's cost-effectiveness is to consider outsourcing. A professional agency such a Accuchex can provide much-needed help with Human Resources needs and questions. Accuchex is a full spectrum Payroll Management Services provider offering expertise in Time Management, Insurance and Retirement issues, as well.
If you are looking for reliable resource for your HR issues, we can help. And you can get your Free Download: Payroll Outsourcing Guide to help you make an informed decision, or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.