January 11, 2018

New Year, New Updates to the Paid Family Leave and Disability Benefit Programs

BY: Jonathan Judge, Allison Scott

Effective January 1, 2018, benefits under Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) and State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) increased for all income levels and the seven-day waiting period for PFL was eliminated.

PFL provides up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits to employees to care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner.  The State administers PFL through the SDI program. While PFL provides wage replacement benefits, it does not create an independent right to a leave of absence or provide job protection.

Before January 1, 2018, employees who were injured outside of work or needed time off to care for a family member could receive partial wage replacement benefits from the State at a rate of 55 percent of their quarterly base rate.  Before receiving these benefits, employees were required to undergo a seven-day waiting period.  Under AB 908, this seven-day waiting period has been eliminated, and employees can immediately receive benefits.

The SDI and PFL calculations have also been modified as follows:

  • For low income workers, whose highest wage range during the quarterly base period is $929 or less, the wage replacement rate will increase from 55% of the employee’s quarterly base wage to 70%.
  • For workers whose highest wage range during the quarterly base period is $930 or more, the wage replacement rate will increase from 55% of the employee’s quarterly base rate to 60%.

An individual’s maximum weekly benefit under SDI or PFL will remain unchanged, being limited to the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount as set by Labor Code section 4453.

The new benefit calculations will remain in effect until December 31, 2021, at which point they are scheduled to revert back to the pre-January 1, 2018 benefit calculations.

For more information concerning these benefit programs, please contact one of the authors or attorneys in AALRR’s Private Labor and Employment Group.


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Attorney Bio(s)


Jonathan Judge




Jonathan Judge is a partner in the Cerritos office of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. He advises employers in labor and employment law and various employment litigation matters, including drug testing, mass layoffs, disparate impact analysis, WARN Act, trade secrets, privacy, technology in the workplace, piece rate compensation, municipal and state sick leave, local, state and federal minimum wage law, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Allison M. Scott

Allison Scott




Allison Scott is an associate in the Cerritos office and represents employers in labor law and various employment litigation matters, including wrongful termination, discrimination, wage & hour, and harassment. Ms. Scott’s experience includes multiple stages of the litigation process to include: drafting of briefs, motions, mediation sessions, and administrative hearings.

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