EDD Celebrates 20th Anniversary of California’s Pathbreaking Paid Family Leave Program

SACRAMENTO—The California Employment Development Department (EDD) is joining with communities across the state to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of California’s trailblazing Paid Family Leave (PFL) program—a program that delivered more than $11 billion in aid for nearly 4 million Californians caring for ill family members, bonding with children, and helping during a family member’s military deployment.

“California’s first-in-the nation paid family leave program has helped improve the lives of millions of people,” said EDD Director Nancy Farias. “Today we celebrate twenty years of helping Californians be there for the family moments that matter most.”

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of Senate Bill 1661 being signed into law, which opened the door for EDD to launch the nation’s first PFL program. To help mark the occasion, EDD has released a new Paid Family Leave Toolkit to help employers support their employees in obtaining benefits.

PFL is part of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program administered by the EDD. Disability Insurance is a partial wage-replacement insurance plan for eligible California workers impacted by illness or injury. It is a mandatory deduction from employees’ wages, noted as “CASDI” on most paystubs.

Since the PFL program was first established in 2002, several expansions to the benefit have been implemented including:

• The opportunity for eligible individuals to take paid time off work to take care of matters related to a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country

• Two more weeks of paid leave benefits, increasing the maximum from six weeks to eight weeks of benefits available in a 12 month period.

• Eligibility expanded to provide benefits to workers who take time off to care for a seriously ill parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

Between the PFL program’s launch in 2004 and the end of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2022, the program has provided over $11 billion in benefits to eligible applicants while total authorized PFL claims have increased by over 115 percent.

An estimated 14.4 million workers are currently covered by the program in California, which is funded through employee payroll deductions.

Eligible employees may receive up to eight weeks of partial wage replacement benefits, depending on income. Benefit payments range from $50 to a maximum of $1,540 per week depending on a worker’s wages. PFL partially replace wages lost when a person takes time away from work. The EDD offers an online benefit calculator to provide workers with an estimate of their potential weekly benefits.

The leave can be used all at once, staggered or split up as needed, over a 12- month period.

PFL does not provide job protection; however, individuals may qualify for job protection through other laws that can be taken concurrently with PFL, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act, and the New Parent Leave Act.

More information and resources related to California’s Paid Family Leave benefits and eligibility are posted on the EDD website. EDD has also developed an employer toolkit with information about vital benefit programs.