California's Paid Family Leave Benefit Leading to Confusion

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December 4, 2013 — 2,654 views  
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This year, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law an act that provides “paid family leave” benefit to employees. But the wording of the act has created a lot of confusion. There are many misunderstandings of the act and what it actually entails for the employees. The law is not currently in force and will only be in effect from the year 2014. Until then, the employees will not get the paid benefits though they can still take the leaves.

The New Law

Under the new law, employees can receive benefits if they take time off from work to take care of a sick family member. The family members in this case do not include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws. The benefits will be paid by the state’s Employment Development Department. The rate of pay is the same as the disability benefits that the employee would have otherwise received.

The law is essentially an extension to the already in force Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. The regulations made by these two acts are known by the acronym FMLA/CFRA.

Some Considerations

There are several considerations that employees should keep in mind before making use of this law. The current law is only applicable to those employers which have at least 50 employees. It is only applicable to those employees who have been employed for the company for at least one year. The employees should have worked for at least 1250 hours in the preceding 12 months prior to the leave.

The law does not make it a guarantee that the employees will receive the leave. It only provides for payment that the employees will receive if they do take the leave. The law is going to take effect on July 1, 2014.


The law was seen as necessary by many because California has a large workforce and many of the workers in California are immigrants who need to take care of their families. In many cases, their families are not residing in California.

It is hoped that the new law will make California a state with greater family friendly labor laws. It could also attract more workers to the state. The state already has one of the largest immigrant populations in the country. The act has already been signed into law by the honorable governor Jerry Brown and will be in effect soon.

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