Serious illnesses often extend beyond just the person who’s sick. Family members worry about how they’ll be able to care for a loved one while still maintaining their jobs. As of September 24, 2013, there is an answer, at least in California.
On September 24 Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to extend California’s Paid Family Leave program to relatives beyond parent, spouse, child, registered domestic partner and same-sex spouse. This means that come July 2014, if a California worker needs to take time off to care for a seriously ill family member, the worker will be able to utilize their disability benefits.
The Paid Family Leave Act will allow employees to take up to six weeks (within a 12-month period) off with a pay of 55% of a worker’s average weekly salary from the state to care for family members who fall into the relatives categories (i.e. grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or in-law).
The employees’ weekly average salary is paid for through a 1% deduction in their paychecks for the initial $95,585 they earn in a year. Weekly payments range from $50 to $1,067. In order to be eligible, the worker must have earned $300 in the previous 12 months.
The Federal Family and Medical Leave and California Family Rights Act allow employees to take 12 weeks off with job protection, however, unpaid leave in a 12-month period for reasons such as bonding with a newborn or personal medical reasons do not qualify.
To read more about the changes to the Paid Family Leave Act, click here
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