Home California Bill Expanding Paid Family Leave Benefits Heads to Governor

Bill Expanding Paid Family Leave Benefits Heads to Governor

by ECT
Lorena Gonzalez

SACRAMENTO – California’s employee-funded Paid Family Leave program has long been out of reach for most working Californians due to the program’s insufficient income replacement rate. Assembly Bill 123 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to establish historic increases in the amount of income workers receive when they use paid family leave now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk for consideration.

“It’s unacceptable that workers who pay into our Paid Family Leave program can’t reap the benefits because the program doesn’t provide enough income to live on,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “This bill is about ensuring all workers can actually take time off during the most critical moments in life to bond with their newborn and care for their loved ones.”

Under the current program, workers can earn 60 to 70 percent of their income while taking paid family leave. Right now, a minimum wage worker earning $14 dollars per hour would still only qualify to receive 60 percent of their wages – the lowest wage replacement rate for any minimum wage worker in the country. Even if they were working full-time, the current rate would only provide them about $1,344 per month, barely covering the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

Governor Newsom released the Master Plan on Early Learning and Care in December of 2020 which recommends increasing wage replacement rates to at least 90 percent for workers earning less than 70 percent of the state average weekly wage to expand equitable access to Paid Family Leave program. AB 123 adopts this recommendation by January 1, 2025, and effectively expands paid family leave benefits for the 18.7 million working Californians covered under this program.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents Californias 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities. For more information on Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, visit http://asm.ca.gov/gonzalez

 

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

 

AB 123, as amended, Lorena Gonzalez. Paid family leave: weekly benefit amount.
Existing unemployment compensation disability law requires workers to pay contribution rates based on, among other things, wages received in employment and benefit disbursement, for payment into the Unemployment Compensation Disability Fund, a special fund in the State Treasury. That fund is continuously appropriated for the purpose of providing disability benefits and making payment of expenses in administering those provisions.
Existing unemployment compensation disability law provides a formula for determining benefits available to qualifying disabled individuals. Under existing law, for periods of disability commencing on and after January 1, 2023, if the amount of wages paid an individual during the quarter of their disability base period in which those wages were highest exceeds $1,749.20, the weekly benefit amount is 55% of those wages divided by 13. Under existing law, a benefit that is not a multiple of $1 shall be computed to the next higher multiple of $1, and the amount of the benefit is prohibited from exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount. Under existing law, the maximum amount of benefits payable to an individual during any one disability benefit period is 52 times their weekly benefit amount, as specified.
Existing law establishes, within the above state disability insurance program, a family temporary disability insurance program, also known as the paid family leave program, for the provision of wage replacement benefits for up to 8 weeks to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a minor child within one year of birth or placement, as specified. Existing law defines “weekly benefit amount” for purposes of both employee contributions and benefits under this program to mean the amount of weekly benefits available to qualifying disabled individuals pursuant to unemployment compensation disability law, calculated pursuant to specified formulas partly based on the applicable percentage of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, but not to exceed the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations.
This bill would revise the formula for determining benefits available pursuant to the family temporary disability insurance program, formulas described above for periods of disability commencing after January 1, 2022, 2023, but before January 1, 2025, by redefining the weekly benefit amount to be equal to 90% 65% or 75% of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations. Relations, depending on the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest. The bill would, for periods of disability commencing after January 1, 2025, increase the wage replacement percentages to be equal to 70% or 90% depending on the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest. The bill, however, would only make these revisions to the formula applicable to only the first 12 weeks of benefits for disability benefits that are not the paid family leave program.
By providing for the deposit of additional contributions in, and by authorizing an increase in disbursements from, the Unemployment Compensation Disability Fund, this bill would make an appropriation.
2655.

(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f), an individual’s “weekly benefit amount” shall be the amount appearing in column B in the table set forth in this subdivision on the line of which in column A of the table there appears the wage bracket containing the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which wages were the highest.

A
Amount of wages in
highest quarter
B
Weekly benefit
amount
  $75–1,149.99 ……………………
$50
1,150–1,174.99 ……………………
 51
1,175–1,199.99 ……………………
 52
1,200–1,224.99 ……………………
 53
1,225–1,249.99 ……………………
 54
1,250–1,274.99 ……………………
 55
1,275–1,299.99 ……………………
 56
1,300–1,324.99 ……………………
 57
1,325–1,349.99 ……………………
 58
1,350–1,374.99 ……………………
 59
1,375–1,399.99 ……………………
 60
1,400–1,424.99 ……………………
 61
1,425–1,449.99 ……………………
 62
1,450–1,474.99 ……………………
 63
1,475–1,499.99 ……………………
 64
1,500–1,524.99 ……………………
 65
1,525–1,549.99 ……………………
 66
1,550–1,574.99 ……………………
 67
1,575–1,599.99 ……………………
 68
1,600–1,624.99 ……………………
 69
1,625–1,649.99 ……………………
 70
1,650–1,674.99 ……………………
 71
1,675–1,699.99 ……………………
 72
1,700–1,724.99 ……………………
 73
1,725–1,749.20 ……………………
 74
(b) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 1990, and prior to January 1, 1991, if the amount of wages paid an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest exceeds one thousand seven hundred forty-nine dollars and twenty cents ($1,749.20), the weekly benefit amount shall be 55 percent of these wages divided by 13, but not exceeding two hundred sixty-six dollars ($266) or the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount, whichever is less. If the benefit payable under this subdivision is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(c) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 1991, but before January 1, 2000, if the amount of wages paid an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest exceeds one thousand seven hundred forty-nine dollars and twenty cents ($1,749.20), the weekly benefit amount shall be 55 percent of these wages divided by 13, but not exceeding three hundred thirty-six dollars ($336). If the benefit payable under this subdivision is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(d) (1) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2000, but before January 1, 2018, if the amount of wages paid an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest exceeds one thousand seven hundred forty-nine dollars and twenty cents ($1,749.20), the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 55 percent of these wages divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount.
(2) Notwithstanding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount of paragraph (1), if the benefit under this subdivision is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(e) For periods of disability commencing on and after January 1, 2018, but before January 1, 2023, an individual’s “weekly benefit amount” shall be as follows:
(1) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is less than nine hundred twenty-nine dollars ($929), then fifty dollars ($50).
(2) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is nine hundred twenty-nine dollars ($929) or more, and is less than one-third of the amount of the state average quarterly wage, then 70 percent of the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13. If the weekly benefit amount is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(3) Except as provided in paragraph (4), when the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is one-third of the amount of the state average quarterly wage, or more, then either (A) 23.3 percent of the state average weekly wage or (B) 60 percent of the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest divided by 13, whichever amount is greater. If the weekly benefit amount is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(4) An individual’s “weekly benefit amount” shall not exceed the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(f) (1) For Except as provided in paragraph (2), for periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2023, if the amount of wages paid an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest exceeds one thousand seven hundred forty-nine dollars and twenty cents ($1,749.20), the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 55 percent of these wages divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(2) (A) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2023, but before January 1, 2025, the weekly benefit amount for the first 12 weeks shall be as follows:
(i) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is more than 70 percent of the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 65 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(ii) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is 70 percent or less than the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 75 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(B) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2025, the weekly benefit amount for the first 12 weeks shall be as follows:
(i) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is more than 70 percent of the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 70 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(ii) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is 70 percent or less than the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 90 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(C) The weekly benefit amount following the 12-week period described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall revert to the weekly benefit amount formula in paragraph (1) for all following weeks.

(2)

(3) Notwithstanding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount of paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), if the benefit under this subdivision is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(g) For purposes of this section:
(1) “State average quarterly wage” means the state average weekly wage multiplied by 13.
(2) “State average weekly wage” means the average weekly wage paid by employers to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the United States Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending on March 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which the disability occurred.

 

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

Section 3301 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, as amended by Section 40 of Chapter 24 of the Statutes of 2019, is amended to read:

 

3301.

(a) (1) The purpose of this chapter is to establish, within the state disability insurance program, a family temporary disability insurance program. Family temporary disability insurance shall provide up to eight weeks of wage replacement benefits to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner, to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption, or to participate in a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of the individual’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States.

(2) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abridge the rights and responsibilities conveyed under the CFRA or pregnancy disability leave.
(b) (1) An individual’s “weekly benefit amount” for periods of disability commencing before January 1, 2022, 2023, shall be the amount provided in Section 2655, and for periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2022, 2023, shall be the amount provided in paragraph (2). paragraphs (2) and (3). An individual is eligible to receive family temporary disability insurance benefits equal to one-seventh of the individual’s weekly benefit amount for each full day during which the individual is unable to work due to caring for a seriously ill or injured family member, bonding with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption, or participating in a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of the individual’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States.
(2) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2022, 2023, but before January 1, 2025, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal as follows:
(A) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is more than 70 percent of the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 90 65 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(B) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is 70 percent or less than the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 75 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(3) For periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2025, the weekly benefit amount shall be as follows:
(A) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is more than 70 percent of the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 70 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(B) When the amount of wages paid to the individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest is 70 percent or less than the state average weekly wage, the weekly benefit amount shall be equal to 90 percent of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Section 4453 of the Labor Code.
(4) For purposes of this subdivision, “state average weekly wage” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 2655.
(c) The maximum amount payable to an individual during any disability benefit period for family temporary disability insurance shall be eight times the individual’s “weekly benefit amount,” but in no case shall the total amount of benefits payable be more than the total wages paid to the individual during the individual’s disability base period. If the benefit is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it shall be computed to the next higher multiple of one dollar ($1).
(d) No more than eight weeks of family temporary disability insurance benefits shall be paid within any 12-month period.
(e) An individual shall file a claim for family temporary disability insurance benefits not later than the 41st consecutive day following the first compensable day with respect to which the claim is made for benefits, which time shall be extended by the department upon a showing of good cause. If a first claim is not complete, the claim form shall be returned to the claimant for completion and it shall be completed and returned not later than the 10th consecutive day after the date it was mailed by the department to the claimant, except that such time shall be extended by the department upon a showing of good cause.

You may also like

3 comments

Bearman Sep 11, 2021 - 12:23 pm

This has already caused many employers to go out of business and more of this will be happening. Why should an employer continue paying someone who is not working? Makes no sense!

Reply
Sarah Owens Sep 11, 2021 - 2:49 pm

No wonder people are leaving California for states which operate in a normal manner. Businesses are moving out in droves! If you don’t work, you don’t get paid! If you want to have children you probably cannot afford to raise anyway — then save money for that and then take a leave of absence. Why should an employer have to pay your for doing being absent?

Reply
Street-Sweeper Sep 12, 2021 - 4:56 am

More handouts! Is there ever a bill that this women proposes that actually saves the State money? JFC

Reply

Leave a Comment