Ask Us

In this section you can find answers to frequently asked questions about the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.

For questions related to your leave rights at work, check out these fact sheets from the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center.

1. Is my job protected while I’m taking PFL?

PFL provides income replacement to you while you are on leave - it does not guarantee job protection during your leave. However, you may be eligible for job-protected leave through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law. If you are a union member, you may have the right to job-protected leave through a collective bargaining agreement. To learn more about job protection during your leave, review these fact sheets produced by our partners at the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center.

2. Can my employer require to me to use vacation or sick leave before getting PFL benefits?

Your employer may require you to use up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave prior to getting PFL benefits. Vacation leave may include paid time off. One week of vacation leave can be used during your seven day waiting period. However, your employer can not require you to take sick leave before getting PFL benefits.

3. Will I need a doctor’s note to qualify for PFL?

To apply for PFL to care for an ill family member, you will need to submit a medical certification from your relative’s doctor. To apply for PFL to bond with a new child, you will need to submit evidence of your relationship with the child, such as a birth or adoption certificate. See sample claim form here: http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de2501f-sample.pdf.

4. Can multiple workers take PFL to care for the same seriously ill family member?

Multiple workers may take PFL to provide physical care or psychological comfort, or to arrange third party care, for the same family member. In a 24-hour period, up to three individuals who are able and available to provide care for the same care recipient may receive PFL benefits.

5. Can I take PFL to care for a seriously ill family member outside of California?

You may take PFL to care for a family member with a serious health condition who does not live in California. You must still obtain a medical certificate from the health care provider to establish your family member’s serious health condition as described in Question #3 above. The health care provider must be licensed or certified in the state or country where your family member is receiving treatment.

6. How is my PFL benefit calculated?

Your PFL benefits are determined by your earnings in the base period. The base period is the 12-month period ranging from 5 to 18 months prior to the beginning of your PFL claim. The wages included in the base period must have been subject to the SDI tax. You must have at least $300 in wages in the base period to qualify for PFL. Your weekly PFL benefit will be 55% of your wages as determined by the highest quarter of earnings in your base period. View a chart of weekly PFL benefits based on earnings in your base period.

7. Can I take PFL on an hourly basis?

All six weeks of PFL do not need to be taken consecutively. You can take PFL in hourly, daily or weekly increments as needed. However, you must wait the full seven day waiting period before getting PFL benefits, as described in Question #10 below.

8. Does an employee have to work a minimum number of hours or days before becoming eligible for PFL benefits?

You do not have to work a minimum number of hours or days to be eligible for PFL benefits. The amount of benefits you receive is determined by your earnings in the base period, not by the number of hours or days worked. Read Question #6 above to review how PFL benefits are determined.

9. I am on leave recovering from pregnancy and receiving State Disability Insurance payments – can I also receive PFL benefits?

You can get PFL benefits after your pregnancy disability leave. Even if you received State Disability Insurance (SDI) payments during your pregnancy disability leave, you can subsequently take PFL to bond with your new child. The seven day waiting period required for SDI when taking pregnancy disability leave counts towards the seven day waiting period for PFL.

10. How is the seven day waiting period served?

The first seven calendar days of a PFL claim is a non-payable waiting period. Click here for an example of serving the waiting period over the first seven consecutive days of your leave. If you are taking leave intermittently, any day you provide care counts toward your waiting period. Click here for an example of serving the waiting period over non-consecutive days.

New mothers transitioning from a Disability Insurance (DI) to PFL claim are not required to serve another seven day waiting period before receiving PFL benefits. Once you have served the seven day waiting period, you do not need to serve another waiting period if you are taking leave for the same reason.

11. I am not a U.S. citizen - can I still apply for PFL?

You are eligible for PFL benefits if you pay into the SDI program and meet all other eligibility requirements. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible.

12. Can my spouse and I both take PFL to bond with our new child?

Both parents can take PFL to bond with a new child. You and your spouse may, but do not need to, take PFL at the same time.

13. How long do I have to take PFL to bond with a new child?

You can receive PFL benefits while bonding with a newborn baby during the first year of the child’s life. If you are taking leave to bond with an adopted or foster child , you are eligible for PFL benefits within the first year of the child’s placement with you.

14. Which family members are covered under Paid Family Leave?

You can receive PFL benefits while caring for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner. Beginning July 1, 2014, PFL will also cover caregiving for a seriously ill sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or parent-in-law.

15. Who do I contact about my PFL application?

Contact the California Employment Development Department (EDD) to request an application or inquire about the status of your application. To answer your questions about the PFL program, EDD has toll-free phone lines in several languages – view a list of phone numbers by language. You may also contact EDD online here: https://askedd.edd.ca.gov/asp/frmEDDCOMM.aspx