What is paid family leave?
Paid family leave occurs when an employee continues to receive benefits and pay from his or her employer, even though the employee needs to take time off of work for family-related reasons. Family-related reasons include an employee needing to care for a seriously ill family member, an employee needing to bond with a new child, and an employee needing to attend a “qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment.” A serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, physical condition, mental condition, inpatient care in a hospital or other medical care center, or continuing treatment by a doctor (California Paid Family Leave | California EDD). An employee cannot use his or her own serious health condition as a reason to be granted paid family leave. Employees who are on paid family leave can receive compensation and benefits for a maximum of eight weeks. Compensation by an employer to an employee on paid family leave tends to be sixty to seventy percent of the employee’s weekly salary. In addition, the employee could be granted paid family leave after twenty-six consecutive weeks of employment if the employee works at least twenty hours per week. An employee could also be granted paid family leave only after one-hundred seventy-five days if the employee worked for less than twenty hours per week (Paid Family Leave and Other Benefits | Paid Family Leave (ny.gov)). However, it is important to note that paid family leave provides only benefits and compensation, and does not necessarily protect the employee’s job. Therefore, the employee could come back from his or her paid family leave and discover that they no longer have the same position at work or that they have terminated her after her family leaves (California Paid Family Leave | California EDD).
In order to be eligible for a paid family leave, the employee has to satisfy specific requirements. The first requirement is that the employee has to be unable to continue working. The second requirement is that the employee has to be employed or have the intention to find a new job after their paid family leave. The third requirement is that the employee has to have submitted a medical certificate that supports the employee’s claim for the reason of a needed paid family leave. Medical certificates can be granted to the employee by a nurse practitioner, a doctor, a physician assistant, or a surgeon. However, if the medical certificate is from a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, then the employee must also receive a physical examination from a physician or surgeon. The fourth requirement is that the employee must show proof that he or she has lost wages because of a family-related reason. The fifth requirement is that the employee must have earned a minimum of three hundred dollars “from which State Disability Insurance deductions were withheld during your [the employee’s] base period” (California Paid Family Leave | California EDD). The last requirement is that the employee must make a claim for paid family leave no earlier than the first day of the paid family leave and no later than forty-one days after the first family leave. If the employee does not make the claim during this specific timeline, then the employee could lose all benefits and compensation that they could have received from paid family leave.