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What rights do I have to a paid family leave?

If you are a new California mother or about to become one, you will be glad to know that you are entitled to a paid family leave under California law. As the California Employment Development Department explains, if you are an expectant mom, you can get as many as four weeks of Disability Insurance benefits before your child is born if your pregnancy is a normal one. In addition, you can get up to six weeks of Paid Family Leave benefits after your baby is born if you delivered him or her vaginally or up to eight weeks if you delivered him or her via Caesarean section.

California does not forget new fathers, either. If you are a new dad, you, too, can get up to six weeks of Paid Family Leave benefits after the birth or adoption of your child so you have the time you need to welcome him or her into the world and into your life.

Eligibility

Both new moms and new dads can collect the six weeks of PFL benefits whenever they welcome a new child, whether by pregnancy, adoption or foster care. You do not need to take your six weeks all at once or even right after your new child arrives in your home. You can split up the six weeks any way you wish during the first 12 months of your new child’s arrival.

There are two requirements. The first is that you paid into the State Disability Insurance plan during the past five to 18 months. To determine if you did, check your old pay stubs for an amount called “CASDI.” The second requirement is that you did not take the full six weeks of Paid Family Leave during the preceding 12 months.

Other types of PFL benefits

Paid Family Leave does not apply only to the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. You may take it if one of your following family members becomes seriously ill and you need to take time off from work to care for him or her:

  • Spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Child or grandchild
  • Parent, sibling or parent-in-law
  • Grandparent

This information is not legal advice, but it can help you understand the Paid Family Leave process and what to expect.

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