My employee took a pregnancy disability leave for three months, and then came back to work as soon as she was released by her doctor. Four months later, she now wants to take baby bonding leave for eight weeks. Will she be able to collect Paid Family Leave insurance, and if so, will there be a new seven-day waiting period?
California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance program provides up to six weeks of wage replacement when an employee takes time off for baby bonding or to care for a seriously ill family member.
Normally there is a seven-day waiting period before PFL benefits are paid. However, if a claim for PFL for baby bonding is made following a State Disability Insurance claim for pregnancy, the normal seven-day waiting period for PFL is waived. This is true even if the baby bonding time is not taken immediately following the end of the pregnancy disability leave.
Thus, your employee should be able to collect PFL for the first six weeks of her baby bonding leave without serving any additional waiting period.
The California Code of Regulations (CCR) gives the following example to illustrate this situation. Note that PFL benefits are referred to here as “Family Temporary Disability Insurance,” which is the name for PFL benefits used in California’s Unemployment Insurance Code.
“Claimant B gives birth on May 9, 2004, and receives State Disability Insurance benefits through June 19, 2004 for her pregnancy claim. She does not establish a Family Temporary Disability Insurance [PFL] claim for bonding before returning to work in January 2005. After working through March 20, 2005, Claimant B establishes a claim for Family Temporary Disability Insurance [PFL] benefits beginning March 21, 2005 to bond with her new child.
“Claimant B may receive up to six weeks of Family Temporary Disability Insurance [PFL] benefits from March 21, 2005 through May 1, 2005, if otherwise eligible. Because Claimant B served a waiting period on her State Disability Insurance pregnancy claim, she is not required to serve an additional waiting period.” (22 CCR, Section 3303 (b)-1(a))
The Labor Law Helpline is a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.