California Paid Family Leave (CA PFL)

California has been leading the charge on paid leave since 2002, when they were the first state to enact a paid family leave law. Employers in California have a lot of leave laws to keep track of including: the California Pregnancy Disability Leave (CA PDL), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), California State Disability Insurance (CA SDI), and California Paid Family Leave (CA PFL). Using a leave management system allows employers to stay up to date and in compliance with all state leave laws. Here’s why teams may not want to handle employee leave internally or with a traditional leave provider:

Keeping up with leave law compliance

Each leave law offers different job-protection and wage replacement coverage for employees:

• CA PDL: Offers up to 4 months of job-protected time for an employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition
• CFRA: Offers up to 12 weeks of job-protected time to bond with a new child or to care for themselves or their family member with a serious health condition
• CA SDI: Offers up to 52 weeks of partial pay for disability which can include elective surgery, pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions
• CA PFL: Offers up to 8 weeks of partial pay for parental, caregiver or family military leaves

All of these programs interact with FMLA, local leave laws (like SF PPLO), any employer policies, and short-term disability insurance. 

Performing eligibility determination

Who is eligible for wage replacement under CA PFL? 

The California Employment Development Department (CA EDD) notes that employees may be eligible if they:

• Are a full-time or part-time employees who has contributed to the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, or a self-employed resident of California who has contributed to the Disability Insurance Elective Coverage Program in the past 18 months
• Have experienced a loss of wages due to caring for a seriously ill family member, bonding with a new child, or participating in a qualifying military event

Who is eligible for wage replacement under CA SDI? 

Eligibility requirements stipulate that employees:

• Be unable to work for at least 8 days
• Have experienced a loss of wages because of disability
• Be employed (or actively looking for work)
• Have earned at least $300 (where SDI deductions were withheld during base period)
• Be under treatment of a certified medical provider

When employers use a traditional leave management solution or handle internally instead of using Cocoon’s leave software, eligibility determination is manual, error prone, and time-consuming. Cocoon codifies ever-changing federal and state leave laws, eliminating human error and legal risk across all 50 states for employers while providing a seamless experience for employees.

Sending required compliance notices

Depending on employer size and employee eligibility, employers may be required to send or post a number of notices and brochures which may include:

• Notice of Eligibility for Family and Medical Leave and Rights and Responsibilities 
• Designation Notice for Family and Medical Leave
• California Disability Insurance brochure
• California Paid Family Leave brochure California Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee brochure

When employers use a traditional leave management solution or handle internally instead of using Cocoon’s leave software, compliance notices are sent manually and at random times, creating room for human error. We automate compliance notices on behalf of employers.

Supporting leave claims submission

Depending on the employee and leave type, there are a variety of claims forms that must be submitted during very specific time frames:

• California EDD bonding claim
• California EDD short term disability claim
• Private short term disability claim

Rather than spending hours with each employee going on leave, you can give employees the seamless, private experience they deserve with Cocoon:

• Employees can plan a leave in 10 minutes, layering federal and state compliance with your private disability and company policies
• Cocoon gives employees step-by-step guidance on what claims they need to file, when. Cocoon files private disability claims on behalf of employees, and empowers them with information and tools to file applicable state claims themselves
• We provide educational content every step of the way. For additional support, employees have unlimited access to Cocoon’s CLMS-certified Support Team via email and phone for more complex questions
• Cocoon notifies managers when a teammate requests a leave, and also provides timely email guidance and resources at key stages

Calculating leave payroll

Under CA PFL and CA SDI, eligible employees can receive roughly 60-70% of their weekly wages earned in the 5 to 18 months before the leave start date. The weekly benefit maximum is currently set at $1,620 for 2024. If employers have parental, medical, and caregiver leave policies, these benefits will need to be coordinated with employer pay.

Here’s what leave pay looks like with Cocoon:

• Cocoon’s software calculates leave pay based on your policy and each employee’s estimated benefits earnings from private disability and their state
• Admins can download pay files right from their Dashboard, available according to their unique pay calendar

Offering paid leave costs less than you think

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