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Are you eligible for paid family leave?

California was the first state to require that employees be given paid family leave. Paid family leave (or "PFL") is available to any worker that requires extended time off to care for a newborn or sick family member. But, these benefits are not automatic. You must apply to receive them. This article will go over the eligibility requirements and how you can be disqualified.

There are several requirements to qualify for PFL, including:

  • You must be covered by state disability insurance and have made at least $300.
  • Submit your claim no earlier than nine days and no later than 49 days after your first day on family leave.
  • Produce documentation establishing that you must care for the person or, in the alternative, provide documentation that you must bond with your newborn, adopted or foster child.

You will be required to wait seven days before payments are disbursed. Additionally, your employer can require that you use up to two weeks of paid vacation days before family leave benefits kick in.

PFL is not available to everyone. Here are some of the ways that California may deem you ineligible for these benefits:

  • You are held in police custody or are incarcerated.
  • You are not losing any wages.
  • You are unable to produce sufficient documentation to establish that you must care for this person (i.e., you don't have a doctor's note).
  • You are already receiving disability, unemployment or workers' compensation benefits.
  • Or, you are not working or looking for work at the time you begin family care leave.

If your benefits were denied or you are unable to get through the approval process, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Carefully review the requirements before you begin the filing process. You don't want your benefits hung up on a paperwork technicality.

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