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Maternity Benefits & Parental Leave

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Insurance > Maternity Benefits & Parental Leave


Information about Maternity Leave and Benefits

This is a list of benefits available to parents in California. Note that all of the payments below depend on your employment status, and whether you qualify for SDI. Some of the benefits also depend on the size of the business you work for. Check the EDD websites below and your HR department for your own specific eligibility.

  1. California Short-Term Disability Insurance (SDI)
    If SDI is withheld from your paycheck, you may be eligible for DI payments for up to 4 weeks before and 8 weeks after you give birth. Check the EDD website for details and rates: http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/Disability_Insurance.htm

  2. California Paid Family Leave (PFL)
    If eligible for SDI, both parents are also eligible for up to 6 weeks of Paid Family Leave to bond with a new child (after SDI runs out). Check the EDD website for details and rates: http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/PFL_Eligibility.htm

  3. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    The FMLA does not pay benefits, but it protects your job and medical insurance for 12 weeks if you take off to care for a child aged 0-1. More information: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

  4. Your Employer's Benefits
    Your employer might offer benefits on top of SDI and PFL, such as extended paid time off. You may also be able to use accrued vacation and/or sick leave before or after the birth or adoption of a child. Some employers, such as the University of California, do not participate in SDI, but instead offer their employees the option to purchase disability insurance, which can be used for pregnancy and childbirth. But you must enroll ahead of time. Contact your HR department to find out about benefits your employer provides. Here is UC Berkeley's page about family leave: http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/er/leaves/fmla

Questions & Advice Related Pages

2010 - 2013 Recommendations


Maternity leave extension

Aug 2011

I need advice on extending maternity leave. I have taken the fall semester off to have my baby (due late Oct) and want to extend my leave for the spring semester. The university I work for has informally denied my request. Does anyone have advice for me? Another term leave would make a huge difference for me as I am a single mom and have very little support or financial resources to hire help. I am also a first time mom. Please advise, do I have any legal rights and under what circumstances? How can I make a persuasive case? advice needed


My daughter was born in late October in 2008. I did not return to work until late March. With the current laws in the state of California you are eligible for disability for 6 weeks after a regular birth or 8 weeks for a cesarian. Once disability ends you are eligible for 12 weeks of baby bonding (six weeks of that is paid through the Family Paid Leave Act - I think that's what it's called, same percentage is paid to you as you receive with disability). I believe your university needs to have at least 100 employees for you to qualify for the baby bonding time. And you have to have worked for 12 months prior to your maternity leave. So if you fit all of those qualifications that means that from the day your baby is born you do not legally need to be back at work until 18 weeks after the birth. I hope that helps! Fellow mama

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


Paid Family Leave -- intermittent

February 2007

My husband is having problems using Paid Family Leave for bonding with our infant son. Specifically, he wants to take intermittent leave (taking every Monday as a family leave day until he runs out of leave). He took this type of intermittent leave for the birth of our first son, and others in his department have done it.

But now his employer says ''intermittent'' means two chunks of time, so they won't let him take Mondays off. They want him to take the rest of his leave in one big chunk. (He has already taken a few days, which they consider the first chunk). Does anyone know if the employer's definition of ''intermittent'' is legal?

Also, when he contacted the state department that runs Paid Family Leave, they said they don't get involved in sorting out this stuff. They said if he wants to pursue it, he should file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment & Housing. Has anyone had experience doing filing such a complaint, and if so, is it a career killer?

Any advice greatly appreciated! Jennifer


You first want to have a look at his employer's written employee handbook & see what it says about intermittent leave for fathers (if anything). Then, he should collect (in writing) names/dates and intermittent schedules of those fathers who have done something similar (taken intermittent leaves for bonding like your husband's). You could also look into mothers who've done that though fathers make a stronger argument in his favor. He could choose to consult an employment attorney at that point (or not) for more assistance (the Employment Law Center in SF offers free consultations on specific nights of the week; they are also at Boalt Hall Law School in Berkeley during the semester).

Then, he should go have another serious talk with the Human Resources Manager (or Director) of his company. He should present all this info to that person and explain he's going to make a formal complaint because the company is not following its own policies/precedents. The DFEH is the right place to file, though he should think about the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - fed equivalent) in SF and filing an FMLA complaint - family medical leave act, if the employer has more than 50 employees. The EEOC gives free early mediation as an option (usually within 3 mths of a complain), which would be perfect for your husband's case. The DFEH offers mediation too, but it's not as well established.

Filing a formal complaint is protected legally from retaliation, however, there are all kinds of informal social repercussions he might be concerned about, depending on his workplace/colleagues. He should first try to work with HR to determine a solution.

Whichever organization he files with, it will take up to a year to have his case investigated, so this really is not a fast solution (which is partly why I suggest the mediation alternative).

This is a very complex area of the law which changes rapidly, so at some point an attorney's advice will be helpful (the above is not legal advice).

PS I'm a mediator; I don't represent clients. Good luck! Claudia


I am taking intermittent leave, 3 days/week until my time runs out. My understanding is that you are entitled to take the leave in any manner you see fit. The law does not define a time period for the leave, and the employer is not allowed to define it. You should have the most senior Human Resources person you can get to define your company's policy, in writing. Document everything. Let them know you are keeping notes. This should protect your career and your rights adequately.

See paidfamilyleave.org for more detail, like this:

6. I need to take care of my mother with dementia, who requires ongoing care. Can I take leave a few hours at a time? Do I have to satisfy the seven-day waiting period each time I take leave?

The law does not establish a minimum number of hours, days or weeks that an employee can take off work to receive PFL benefits. For example, caregivers can receive PFL benefits when they take leave once a week to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or take two weeks of leave, return to work, and take four weeks of leave later. This is known as “intermittent leave.” During intermittent leave, only the days on which you actually provide care for your family member will count toward the seven-day waiting period, which does need not to be consecutive. For example, if you care for your mother every Friday, you would serve the seven-day waiting period over seven weeks. Once you have satisfied the seven-day waiting period, you will receive PFL benefits for any subsequent days you miss work to care for your mother.

Caregivers only need to satisfy the seven-day waiting period once in a twelve-month period, unless they wish to establish a claim to provide care for a different care recipient. Happy part-time PFLer


I don't know exactly, but I feel your pain! We had an almost identical situation with my husband (wanting partial time off), and although his employer allowed it, they denied his request for vacation because of this ''partial time'' use of FMLA. He didn't really puruse it, but lawyers and HR professionals with whom we have casually discussed the situation tell us that hands down my husband would win if he wanted to press the issue either via complaint or lawsuit.

I'd suggest that your husband document everything -- in WRITING -- that he wants to do, and also require a response from his employer IN WRITING. Depending on his relationship with his employer he might be able to get them to point out in the FMLA laws what they are basing their decision on. We've found that a lot of it can just be what people ''think'' is right (not necessarily trying to be malicious), not becuase they have actually properly read the laws. Good luck! baby bonding is good!


Maternity benefits if I intend on leaving job?

January 2007

I am wondering if anyone can share their knowledge about what maternity/parental leave benefits I would qualify for if I don't plan on returning to my job after the birth of a child? My co- worker just went out on maternity leave, a month in advance of her child's birth. By combining company paid time off, disability, CA FMLA, and federal PFL, (and something else?), she was able to arrange for nearly 6 months of paid time home before delivery and with her new baby. I have been in this job for over 5 years, but due to restructuring, I already know my job will not be here in 6 months. I would like to take maternity leave a month prior to my baby's birth, which is 4 months prior to my job becoming non-existant. Can I get all the same paid benefits as my co-worker even if I don't return to my job? If not, what do I qualify for and/or how can I maximize paid time off? Thanks in advance and any detail you can share would be fabulous. mother to be


You qualify for benefits depending on how much you earned/worked just prior to taking leave. Google search California FMLA & Pregnancy disability.It really doesn't matter if you will go back to your job or not. I had about 3 months paid & took paid vacation time from work. Do your homework with your Human Resources office at work & on the state website... anon
Im on State ''disability'' now. For pregnancy the can get 4 weeks prenatal and 6 weeks postpartum (8 weeks with c section) The you can get 6 weeks 'child bonding ' time, equalling 16-18 weeks. However, you don't get as much as you got when you were working. heres the link http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/diind.htm soni
I was 9 months pregnant when I went on leave with a company that also wasn't going to be there in 6 months. I was still able to apply and receive disability/workers comp, unemployment benefits, and also received my vacation (as pay instead of time). I don't think FMLA applies with a company going out of business since your job won't be around when you are ready to return. I was able to take advantage of the COBRA insurance coverage though. Kristine
I think you will have to be officially an emplyee to receive pay from disability for maternity leave. But, this is what I did with my employer after the birth of my second child--I asked that they keep me as an official 'employee' even though I was not working there and had no intention or returning. They were cool with this--but they didn't have to be. I guess I could have told them I was going to return and then quit, but I felt in my situation it was best to be upfront and it worked out for everyone (I could train a replacement for me and help out and stuff, and I received a bit more pay even though I wasn't working...) Your situation sounds different, since you will not have to quit, exactly--but note that you cannot receive disability if you do not plan on returning to work after the birth of your child. happy

Disability first, then family leave?

January 2007

I am expecting my first baby the end of May, and I had some questions regarding going on disability and paid family leave. I will be taking maternity leave (un-paid) from my job and I am just not sure how to best take advantage of my options. I checked with my employer and I am eligible for the paid family leave, but should I go on disability first and then the paid family leave? How do I do this? Where are the forms? When do I return the forms - before I take the leave or after? I'm also (unbeknownst to my employer) thinking of not going back after I have the baby...will this affect my getting the leave (I will not be telling them I'm not coming back until near the end of my four months maternity leave)? I know it's a little shady but I just can't stand my job and will be taking some time with my baby and looking for another job. Advice from anyone who has gone through this or who knows what to do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Need maternity leave advice


I am on maternity leave right now. The way it works is that onc you know when you are going to stop working, you fill out the disability forms. You can get them online (www.edd.ca.gov) or your doctor's office may have them since there is a part your doctor has to fill out. The transition from disability to paid family leave is really easy. Once your disability runs out (6 weeks after vaginal birth, 8 weeks after c section, unless your doctor gives you more time), you are autimatically sent the correct form for Paid Family Leave. The PFL form you are sent after being on disability for a pregnancy is slightly different than the one online, so don't even bother with the online version. You are eligible for disability starting one month before your due date. I don't know how having a job or not affects it, but since you aren't telling them for four months it shouldn't matter. By the way, don't feel guilty about the job thing. This country has terrible support for new mothers, do what your have to! Meredith
i hope this information helps. i am on maternity leave and it took me awhile to piece the information together to fully understand the benefits out there (there's a combination of state and federal benefits at work) and my hr was not exactly helpful.

-4 weeks before your due date you can go on CA SDI (state disability insurance) and you will get about 55% of your pay through disability. You file the paperwork and your dr. gives the ok.

-you give birth and if natural you get 6 weeks, if a c-section, you get 8 weeks of CA SDI, again 55% of your pay. so during this 10-12 weeks of receiving CA SDI, the FMLA takes place which is a federal benefit that gives you 12 weeks of job protection and company benefits - they still need to pay your health benefits.

-after the 10-12 weeks on CA disability, you can then apply for the 6 weeks of baby bonding, which is known as the Paid Family Leave (PFL). don't forget, your husband can apply for this as well! again, you will receive 55% of your pay. After FMLA expires, the CFRA (california Family Rights act) kicks in. This gives you 12 weeks of job protection and again company needs to keep paying your health benefits.

-so in the end, you can get up to 18 weeks of partial pay and 24 weeks of job protection and benefits. feel free to email me with any questions! pixshim77


I had similar questions as I prepared to go on maternity leave. My employer provided two weeks of paid maternity leave followed by 8 1/2 months of unpaid leave. I wasn't sure if I was going to go back to work but leaning towards not going back to work and became really clear about not returning to work about six months into my leave.

Here's what I did. I have Kaiser and obtained the disability forms through the business office there. If you don't have Kaiser, just ask your doctor about this. He or she will know. In normal pregnancies you are usually eligible for disability up to a month before your due date if you've stopped working by then and for six weeks past the date you actually give birth. I think that when you fill out the disability form there's a box to check that you want paid family leave once disability benefits end and the state will then send you those forms. If not, just search on the web and you will find the information you need to obtain the paid family leave application. Only after the state benefits ran out did my employer pay me my two weeks of maternity leave. If I had received that money earlier, it would have limited the amount of disability benefits I could have received.

As far as the ethics of knowing that I wasn't going back and not telling my employer, I felt enormously relieved that just as I was grappling with this issue the New York Times Sunday Magazine Ethicist addressed it and said that was just fine. Any maternity leave benefits I received I had already accrued through the work I had already performed, like paid vacation time. They were not contingent on my returning. I did however put my baby on my husband's health insurance plan from the beginning and would have put myself on his plan once I got clarity about not going back but then he got laid off and for a little while before he found another job it looked like I might actually be going back to work. You just never know what the future holds. anonymous


I was on maternity leave this summer when my son was born. I received a disability form from my OBGYN and they submitted the form when my son was born. This partial pay lasted 6 weeks. Just prior to it expiring, Disability sent a form for the Paid Family Leave. I filled it out and my benefits continued for another 6 weeks. It was very simple. Just ask your OB to see how the office handles it. Keep in mind it takes a good month for the first check to arrive, so plan accordingly. Also, you do have to pay federal taxes on the PFL but not the disability. New Mom
Generally speaking, the order in which you take the leave is determined by your employer, though you've stated that all of your leave will be unpaid, so it sounds like you will be touching your benefits directly from the state without going through your employer?

In my experience, if your employer has extended-illness benefits, these get used first, for the first 40 hours of maternity leave, then it swaps over to vacation/paid-time off combined with state disability payments and when disability and paid-time off run out, you can apply for PFL/CFRA for an additional number of weeks.

State Disability usually extends for the period of 6 weeks mandated by the FMLA and PFL/CFRA extends for up to an additional 4-6 weeks.

You can get your State Disability and PFL forms from EDD: http://www.edd.ca.gov/fleclaimdi.htm http://www.edd.ca.gov/fleclaimpfl.htm

There's more information about which forms to use and the various deadlines for applying for leave/submitting a claim on the website.

Pay close attention to the dates and be sure to apply in advance of when you'll need the benefits, because there's an 8-day waiting period before they kick in. Beth


your disability comes first, then there is a state sponsored bonding leave that kicks in for another6 or 8 weeks, I forget which. paid family leave comes after that or you can use some concurrently with your disability/bonding time if you need to supplement - talk with your payroll department. FYI the bonding money, unlike disability, is taxed at the end of the year and your husband is eligible to take it too within a year after the birth. get the most out of it
I did a lot of research on the various leaves one can take in California during pregnancy and after birth. Its very confusing and you can't really find concise information anywhere. The website to look into is www.edd.ca.gov

Basically there are 4 types of leaves: (1) California Short Term Disability Insurance (SDI) for 4 + 6 weeks; (2) Paid Family Leave (PFL) for 6 weeks; (3) Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for 12 weeks; and (4) California Family Rights Act (CFRA) for 12 weeks. SDI and PFL are partially paid (by the State) depending on your salary. Your employer may supplement your SDI depending on your benefits (mine did, so I got 75% pay during SDI). FMLA and CFRA are not paid. SDI has to be taken concurrently with FMLA and PFL has to be taken concurrently with CFRA. FMLA begins as soon as you go on leave (before or after birth) and CFRA begins after SDI ends after birth of baby.

Under SDI, you are allowed upto 4 weeks off before your due date and upto 6 weeks (for normal delivery) or 8 weeks (c-section) off after the birth of your baby. Remember, if you choose not to take the 4 weeks off before your due date, you cannot take it later (its use or loose). After SDI ends, you are allowed PFL for an additional 6 weeks (you can take this all in one go or intermittently up to 1 year of your baby's birth). So if you take 4 weeks off before your due date, then 6 weeks off after birth, you have used up 10 of your 12 FMLA weeks and have 2 weeks left still. If you start PFL right after SDI ends, you are also on CFRA (and overlapping with the leftover FMLA). After 6 weeks of PFL, you still have 6 weeks of CFRA left.

If you follow this, you will get a total of 22 weeks (4 (SDI & FMLA before birth) + 6 (SDI & FMLA after birth) + 6 (PFL & CFRA & 2 weeks FMLA) + 6 (CFRA)). malapat


It is a little bit complicated but speak with your OB. I know mine took care of everything for me, including sending in the paperwork. Once your disability is up, you automatically get the paperwork for the family leave. Checks come every two weeks. You don't need to ''pay'' someone to help you fill out paperwork or do research for you. Save your money for when you're on leave! anon

2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Financing maternity leave after disability runs out

Sept 2006

I am curious if anyone knows anything about money one can apply for after disability runs out. A coworker said she was able to apply for an extra $700 or so in connection to the Family Medical Leave Act. SHe says she does not remember how she did it though. I also saw 2 postings on BPN about this other funds and I was wondering if anyone can offer me some specific advice as to how to apply for it. I could REALLY use it. U haven't had any luck with the FMLA because when I look it up, it only mentions that I have the right to have time of but it doesn't appear to talk about available financial support. I would be grateful for any information you may have. Thanks! Nicole


You are entitled to 12 extra weeks off through FMLA. You don't need to do anything. If you've been approved for disability, then right before you're disabilty runs out the EDD automatically sends you the form for FMLA. They make it all really easy, probably because they know how hard it is on new moms to try and do anything but care for a newborn. Congratulations! (Oh and depending on how long you've been with your company will determine how much pay you get, I'm sure you'll get more than 700 for 12 weeks) shawna
In California, (many) parents are entitled to 6 weeks of paid family leave under a new law that kicked in on July 1, 2004, subject to a number of conditions. However, if you received disability, you should be able to get the same amount as you were getting for your disability for an additional 6 weeks. The state will send you application information (I think there's just a tiny form with one box to check, similar to what you fill out to continue receiving disability benefits) at the very end of your disability -- about when you think they've forgotten about you. More info is here: http://www.edd.ca.gov/fleclaimpfl.htm or search for California Paid Family Leave Act. Best of luck, and enjoy your time off. Mom of one.
Since July 2004, California's Paid Family Leave program entitles workers who pay into the state disability system (SDI) to up to six weeks of partial pay per year while taking time off from work to bond with a newborn baby, newly adopted or foster child, or to care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner.

Everything you need to know about the program, including how PFL interacts with pregnancy-related disability, how to apply and necessary forms, is available at www.paidfamilyleave.org. Catherine


Once your 6 weeks of disability run out, you will automatically receive a form from the state regarding paid family leave. You simply fill it out, return it, and your benefits are extended for 6 more weeks. You will pay taxes on the paid family leave. (My paid family leave checks ran late. Apparently, the office was bogged down in payments and behind schedule.) Happy maternity leave! anon
Yes, you are granted 'extra' time & money after disability runs out. I found out about it from a coworker, and received an extra $1500 that I hadn't even known I was legally entitled to. Here's how it worked for me: I received 3 weeks of short-term disability prior to my son's birth, and 8 weeks after (I had a c-section, otherwise the postpartum disability would have been 6). These 11 weeks were paid out by a combo of UNUM (my employer's disability insurance co.) and EDD (the state). Finally, after I exhausted all of my company vacation/sick time, I was entitled to 6 weeks of Paid Family Leave Benefits (PFL) under the CA State Disability Act - and I think this is the money to which you are referring. (Toward the end of my short-term disability, the state automatically mailed a form asking if I wanted to claim my PFL benefits. HR told me I couldn't claim the PFL bennies because they can't be used in conjunction with short- term disability, but that is absolutely wrong - short-term disability and CA PFL are two completely separate benefits. It was then that my coworker set me straight and helped me collect on that money, so keep an eye out for that form and know your rights!) No matter what kind of maternity leave you've arranged with your employer, he/she cannot deny you your 6 weeks of PFL (as long as your co. has a minimum number of employees). Also, you can cash in your PFL at any time within 365 days of your baby's birth. Meaning, rather than take the 6 weeks of PFL as part of your maternity leave, you can elect to take 6 weeks off later on in the year, and your employer MUST give you that time off. (And don't forget to inquire about the pre-birth benefits, too. Many don't know they're offered, or are led to believe that they're deducted from postpartum benefits - not true!) This whole disability process can really be daunting. I relied heavily on the help of friends and the disability contact at my doctor's office (who was very knowledgeable). I wish it was easier for new moms to learn about the resources that are out there - Lord knows maternity leave benefits in this country are shoddy enough as it is, without all of the smoke and mirrors. Good luck! Every Bit Helps
It's not FMLA you need, it's the California Paid Family Leave program. You get up to 6 weeks paid leave at the same rates as SDI. It just so happens that the 6 weeks of SDI plus the 6 weeks of PFL add up to 12 weeks, which is the same period of time that FMLA says you are entitled to a leave -- so that's why it gets confused. The info you need to submit a claim can be found here: http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/pflpub.asp

Don't forget that Daddy can take PFL too! Working Mom


There are 3 state sponsored programs associated with maternity leave: FMLA - medical insureance for you and the baby for some set period of time, does not involve cash for living expenses. SDI - state disability for 4 weeks before due date and for 6 or more weeks after (depending on complications, cesarian etc), this is not taxed. if you give birth early, your six weeks start the day you give birth. bonding something or other I forget the exact name - this should kick in when your SDI runs out I think its good for another 6 or 8 weeks and it is taxed at the end of the year. fathers are eligible for this too but it must be taken within a year of the birth of the baby. hope that helps
A number of people have mentioned the California Paid Family Leave program. If you work at UC, you're out of luck on this one since UC ''self-insures'' and doesn't participate in the state disability program which funds this.

Of course, if you are faculty, there is a provision for modified duties that will give you full pay and forgive your teaching responsibilities. If you work at UC and are not faculty, the glow of knowing you're engaged in public service is supposed to be enough. anonymous


Need help understanding how long I can take off

August 2006

I am due in November with my first child and am having a very difficult time understanding the maximum amount of time I am able to take off from work both before and after the birth. I would appreciate information or resources available to help me understand FMLA, time covered by State disability and CFRA. Thank you!!! Gretchen


I am not an HR expert, but had to figure out the same when my son was born 2 years ago. You receive 6 weeks of disability (which is about 60% of your current pay). You also get 6 weeks of paid FMLA, which is similar to disability - about 60% of your current pay. So you can basically take off 12 paid weeks. After that you still have 6 weeks of unpaid FMLA left that you can take at any time during that year. JOJ
I had a baby in January and was paid about 60% of my salary from state short term disability for 6 weeks. I had to print out a form on line and have my midwife sign it. At the end of the 6 weeks the state sent me the paperwork for the ''baby bonding'' paid family leave which I just had to sign. It paid for another 6 weeks at the same rate! My employer was required to pay as much as they usually do towards my insurance for the 12 weeks and I had to pay the rest. After 12 weeks I had to pay the full amount of the insurance premium until I returned to work (I took an extended leave). ebeth
Hi Gretchen. I had my baby in March and I completely understand your confusion. I got 4 weeks off prior to estimated due-date, and then 6 weeks from the date-of-birth. I had a vaginal delivery, I am told one gets 8 weeks for C-section, but for the sake of simplicity I will use 6 weeks in my explanation. This is the basic minimum maternity (short term disability) leave. After the first 6/8 weeks are complete one can apply for another 6 weeks covered through FMLA.

Regarding compensation - the state will pay you approximately 60% of your income for this entire period (4+6+6 weeks). If you want the exact amount then you should contact the specific agency (I forget the name now).

Based on your employment contract your employer may further compensate you. Typically employers will ''top-off'' your compensation for the 6 weeks post-delivery recovery period. Essentially the state will pay the first 50-60-odd% and your employer will pay the rest. One should receive two separate checks that will sum up to the total salary one received prior to maternity leave. Sometimes employers will cover the 4 weeks prior to delivery too - you should check that with yours. Good luck with your delivery! PalPakk


Work & Maternity Leave - "At Will" employee

April 2006

If a job is ''at will'' but includes standard benefits, does this include maturity leave?

The job listing caveats:

This is an exempt full time temporary position which includes medical/dental, life insurance and other benefits as specified by the employer. Although the anticipated end date of the National project is March 31, 2007, business conditions and/or the nature of the work assignments may extend the date through December 31, 2008. Employment will be ''at will''. I am not sure how to interpret this... Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!


''At will'' employment basicly means the employer has to follow their own internal policy manual, i.e., not the terms of an individual contract or union agreement. Ask for a copy of the full manual.

Federal and Calif. labor law mandates leave for birth (or adoption) of a child up to 12 weeks including two weeks before due date (or more if you are ''disabled'' from bed-rest, cesaerean, other complications that a MD would have to verify.)

Most employers do not offer any pay during this mandated leave, but you are eligible for State Disability insurance (look at EDD website to see your rights and amount of benefits.) Some employers continue to pay for medical coverage during the leave, or may make you pay the medical coverage during the leave. anon


Depends on the number of employees. If it's a small employer, your job is not guaranteed. If it is a large employer (50+, I believe) they must hold your job for 3 months, if you qualify. The ''temporary'' and ''at-will'' language of teh psoition is irrespective of the laws covering leave. Your employee handbook should really address these questions...

The FMLA provides eligible employees with 12 unpaid workweeks of job-protected leave during any 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child; the foster care of a child; the care of a seriously ill child, spouse, or parent; or an employee's own serious illness. Only workers who (1) have at least 12 months of tenure with their employer; (2) have worked at least 1,250 hours for their employer during the 12 months preceding the leave period; and (3) work for an employer who employs at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius of the employee's work site are eligible for FMLA leave. goodluck!


Do I have to pay tax on Maternity Leave checks?

Feb 2006

Do I have to pay federal or State taxes on California State Disability Insurance payments (SDI). I just had a baby in November 2005. I have been receiving California Disability checks during my Maternity Leave. I don't think I need to pay Federal or State taxes on this money, but I thought I'd double- check to see if any others know for sure. Thanks much, Danielle


California State Disability Insurance benefits are tax-free for both federal (Internal Revenue Code Sec. 104) and California state tax.

Unemployment compensation payments are taxable for federal tax and tax-free for California state tax.

Circular 230 Disclosure: To insure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. If you require an opinion that can be relied upon to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue code, please contact this office to discuss the additional work that will need to be performed. Maria U. Ku, CPA


no, you do not pay tax on SDI payments, so says the woman who prepares our taxes. anon
Yes, you do have to pay taxes on this! I was made to understand that I would not have to pay taxes. But at the end of January I got a 1099G form from the Employment Development Department. I believe my maternity leave payments were in two parts, pregnancy disability (SDI) and Paid family leave act (Unemployment compensation) (I'm sorry I am a little fuzzy on this, but my leave was in November 2004 and things got screwed up so I didn't get my checks until January of 2005). It is the second part that I am being taxed on. Also, If you did not receive a form 1099G from the state, you are probably NOT required to pay taxes on the SDI you are receiving. If you are truly concerned, I would advise consulting with a tax preparer. kukana
When I recieved SDI for my last birth I decided to not check the box which would automatically deduct 10% from the checks. When I completed my tax return I did not include this money in my income. Unfortunately, the government didn't let me slide. They sent me a letter stating that I neglected to claim the money and also that I owed taxes on the money received! If I were you, I would have them take money out of the checks automatically. (Less painful) Good Luck! niki
I'm not an accountant, but I remember a couple years ago when my wife got SDI and/or paid medical leave for pregnancy and post-partum, that we received some form (1099?) from the state, and that Turbo Tax asked for any state payments to include in our income calculation. So the short answer is, I think, yes... But check with the IRS to make sure...
You do NOT pay taxes on SDI (disability); you DO pay taxes on your paid leave, because that's salary -- sick leave or vacation.
I was told by my HR department that I will not have to pay state tax, but that the Feds will consider the pregnancy disability checks income. They won't withhold, although I will owe at the end of the year.

My HR dept gets a lot of things wrong about all of this stuff, so I'm not confident this was correct information, but I'd really like to know!

Also - while we're on the subject, they told me the max state pregnancy disability (not including FMLA) is 4 months (before and after combined). I've heard that my doctor can extend it if necessary. Does anyone know? It's very hard to sort this stuff out.

Thanks. Confused about Pregnancy Disability


yes you do! they will send you a 1099 form stating how much your recieved. beth
This is a follow up to the response given by Confused about Pregnancy Disability. You may know some of this already but hopefully this will clarify some things.

FMLA is a federal law. Under FMLA, you can get 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave for baby bonding or care for your own or a family member's serious health condition. If you go out on disability because of pregnancy (i.e. because of your own serious health condition), that time counts against your 12 weeks.

In California, you can have 4 months of unpaid Pregnancy Disability Leave as well as 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the California Family Rights Act(CA's version of the FMLA). Theoretically, you can have protected status for 7 months (e.g. bedrest for pregnancy for 4 months and baby bonding for 12 weeks.)Any leave taken under CFRA or PDL would run concurrently with FMLA (i.e. you don't get 12 free weeks of FMLA to add on to what you receive under CA law)

Because California law provides more rights than federal law, California law will apply with some exceptions (e.g. you are a federal employee.)

Whether or not you can receive state disability as income replacement depends on whether or not you meet the EDD's (Employment Development Department) guidelines. You can receive payments while your pregnant if you are disabled by your pregnancy. I believe you can receive 6 weeks of disability benefits for a vaginal birth and 8 weeks for a cesarean. If you are still disabled, you may be eligible for additional payments.

Hope this helps. Anon


Paid maternity leave and self-employement

Jan 2005

Hi, I wondering if there is such thing as paid maternity leave for self-employed mom-to-be? I have been working for myself since 98 and wondered if my tax dollars would work for me in this situation. If any of you know about this issue and who to contact I would be very appreciative. I haven't lived in this country for very long and the system can be a little difficult to navigate sometimes. Thank you, French mom to be


The only way to get any paid maternity leave is to apply for state disability, as a self-employed person you can pay into disability on your own, it is fairly inexpensive and a great resource for times like this. visit the EDD website www.edd.ca.gov- depending on how far along you are you may be able to start right away and reap the benefits 4 weeks prior to delivery and for 6 weeks post-partum. good luck! anon
I'm about to be self-employed, and from what I understand, unless you have been opting to pay into state disability within the specific time frame (i think it's at the same time you do your taxes?) that you cannot get the paid family leave. stephanie
check out state disability: http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/diind.htm self employed people qualify for ''elective coverage''. good luck!

New Maternity Leave Laws

Nov 2004

Does anyone understand the new maternity leave laws? I work for a place that just follows California and Federal laws. As I understand it the new California law allows 4 months in addition to the federal 12 weeks. Is it true that I should be able to take a total of 7 months after birth, job protected? I know I don't qualify for much paid leave, but I just want the time with my new baby. Wondering


I'm an attorney that specializes in employment law. I'd be happy to anwer any of your questions about the state and federal leave laws. Briefly though, you are not entitled to 7 months leave unless you were disabled due to pregnancy, in which case you would be entitled to up to 4 months of leave for the disability, if necessary. Then, if eligible, you could take another 3 months of family leave to care for your newborn. Generally speaking, absent a pregnancy disability, you are entitled to a maximum of 3 months of leave to care for your newborn. This all assumes that you're employer is covered by the applicable laws and that you are eligible for those benefits , which I can't answer until I know more about your situation. Feel free to email with your questions. lbb
You are now entitled to 6 weeks paid of Disability through CA State, and 12 weeks paid of Family Leave through FMLA. You MAY also take unpaid leave (up to 4 months for most large employers) Your employer's HR department should give you the forms for both, or you can go online and find them. New Mama
If you're referring to the California's new paid family leave law, you should know a couple things.
1. You are only entitled to extended time away from work under the federal FMLA, which only applies to companies with 50 or more employees, or if you work for the government.
2. However, your company may have a policy that gives you leave even if you are fewer than 50 employees.
3. California's paid family leave law doesn't give you leave, BUT if you are entitled to leave through 1 or 2 above, then you will get some % of your paycheck paid to you during that time.
go to http://www.edd.ca.gov/fleclaimpfl.htm for more info
quasi-hr person
All companies are different. I work for the county & they give you 12 weeks after your baby is born which is called FMLA. But you have to be able to have time on your books to be used with this. It runs concurrent with SDI, therefore they only take a portion of your time on the books. For example, instead of using 7.5 hours (the county works 7.5 hrs a day) they will only use 4.0 hours of that day. When that runs out then you have to go with leave without pay. But after the 12 weeks are over then there is paid family leave for bonding with your child. EDD just started that on July 1st. With that you get 6 weeks to bond with your child. You have to apply with EDD for that, but your job might have the forms to fill out. That 6 weeks has to be used before your child turns 1, if you do decide to use it. I'm currently at home with the FMLA doing my 12 weeks, so I don't know exactly yet how the new EDD works but I believe you still will have to have time on your books to use it.

Good Luck! There should be a law automatically that all new mothers can stay home for 1 full year with their child with full pay!!!!!!!!! Now that's the President I would of voted for! Shelly


I believe the 4 months you mention is protected leave during your pregnancy, should you become unable to work due to your pregnancy. In California, you get 6 weeks mat. disability post- partum, and then an additional 12 weeks for FMLA/CFRA (for a total of 18 weeks). However, you can still be laid off during that time. (In most states, the 6 weeks maternity disability is included in FMLA, but not in California.)

This is unless something has changed very recently...I'm finishing my maternity leave now. new mom


As I am now 7 months preggo and work at a company that does follow these laws, I can help a little. My company's HR person wasn't fully up to date on this, so I did a lot of research on my own. Most are FMLA (family medical leave act) and the CFRA (california family Rights act)

Here's how it goes:

-4 weeks before your due date you can go on CA SDI (state disability insurance). You will get about 55% of your pay through disability. You file the paperwork and your dr. gives the ok. You don't have to be on bedrest to get this too! This holds your job and if your company pays group health bennies, they have to keep paying (yeah!)

- from when you first take any leave, the FMLA takes place. This is the federal leave that gives you 12 weeks of job protection and if your company pays group health benefits, they have to keep going.

-after the birth, CA gives you 6 weeks disability, 8 if you have a C section. This is just like the pre-birth disability, you get a portion of your pay (will be up to $800+ by 2005), plus benefits. Now, FMLA is still running for you too, holding your job through the Feds.

- After the 6 week post birth disability, you are eligible for 6 weeks for Baby Bonding! This is also through disability (you'll get some info in the mail, from what I hear). This is also a supplementary program (I think it's partial pay). It doesn't hold your job for you, just gives you support. It's the Paid Family Leave. It would work if you had to care for a sick parent or spouse too.

- After your 6 week post birth disability, CFRA (california Family Rights act) kicks in. This gives you 12 weeks of job protection. According to what I read, the company has to keep giving you health bennies, but my HR person argues with me. So we are asking some employment attorney friends to help us with this. So, this starts once you are done with the post birth disability.

Here is how my leave will be:

Due date: Feb. 4
pre-birth leave: Jan. 7 (for weeks from due date) (FMLA starts 
now)
post birth disability: Feb. 4- March 17
March 18 CFRA job protection for 12 weeks begins (ends on June 9)
March 29th PFL starts (you have to wait 7 days for it to start)
March 31 FMLA runs out
May 9, PFL runs out.
So, from mid May to mid June I am without any supplemental pay, but job is protected thanks to CFRA!

So yes, Virginia you can take a nice long leave and have your job.

The best place to see is the CA department of Fair housing and Employment and there is a Fed. website too, although really the CA benefits are much nicer for us.

HTH.


Maternity leave options at a small non-profit

April 2004

I work for a small non-profit and I'm going to be going on maternity leave starting in July. My group has never dealt with a pregnant employee before, so there's no policy and we're all pretty clueless about what to do. Should I apply for disability? If so, when? Should I apply for Paid Family Leave instead, or after I finish with my disability? Do I have to use my accrued sick hours before I can apply for either of these? The bureaucracy is boggling to me, and of course the Paid Family Leave guidelines all change right as I'm going on leave -- perfect. I realize everyone is in different situations, but I'd love even some perspectives on how other parents navigated these systems. Thanks so much. Pregnant and Puzzled


Short term disability is what you want to apply for SDI go to http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/dicfp.htm for more info on this. Depending on how ''small'' your non-profit is you may find that they are too small to fall under the auspices of Family Leave Act which last time I looked was 10 or more employees. SDI pays you a portion of your salary. You'll have to set the policy at your job for this. As a reference point I was paid the SDI benefits while on leave for 8 weeks. My health benefits were paid by my non-profit while I was gone. Being one of a two person office I agreed to continue to do some of my job functions even while on leave but not to exceed 5 hours a week. I went back to work full time with my child in a baby bjorn when he was 7 weeks old. For the first 15 months of his life I had a nanny come to my office for 5 hours, three days a week and I squeezed all my meeting times into that and returned calls when he napped. I also took a four day week instead of a raise. You may want to suggest that you guys write up a policy for the future as this may not be the last pregnancy (or other ''illness'') your organization experiences. Juliette
This is complicated and I sympathize with you. I had to figure out a maze of regulations myself two years ago. I don't know all the new stuff, but can give you suggestions on what I do know about. I'd separate the two issues--your employer's obligations and your access to paid leave programs.

If there are more than 50 employees and you've been employed for a year, you are eligible for FMLA under federal law, which means that you can take 12 weeks of leave (though your employer can choose to pay you or require you to use sick leave or vacation time on the books, depending on their policy). If you're less than 50 employees but at least 14, California still requires that you have a certain number of weeks of leave under the pregnancy disability law for the state. I think it's 8 weeks. (My numbers may not be exactly right, but you get the idea. California law covers all employers, federal law only the bigger employers.) Your employer is legally required to have all of this stuff posted in an obvious location, so they should get the posters out of the file and figure out their policy (and post them!!). The money part is different. You're eligible for disability pay if you or your employer pays into SDI for the year prior to your disability. My employer did, so I applied. It's very easy to apply and you and get the information you need from the EDD website. Your doctor needs to sign it and you send it in. You can get paid for your time off and it's totally worth applying for if you're eligible. My employer required me to use my leave balance so that I would get paid and this didn't count against the disability pay unless it was sick leave. The new state paid family leave is administered in a similar way to SDI, so I'd suggest checking the EDD website to figure out whether it replaces or coordinates with SDI.

Don't worry--You can figure it out! Lori


Apply for the disability insurance benefits first -- you can typically claim up to 6 weeks after the birth, or 8 weeks if you have a c-section -- and then apply for the new family leave benefits for the following 6 weeks. Each program requires a 1- week ''waiting period'' and pays approximately half your usual salary. Checks do take a while to arrive (with the SDI you have to re-certify that you're still ''disabled'', still not working, and still not receiving any money from your employer every couple weeks), so it's best if you've got a bit of a cushion in your savings account! You cannot apply until you have started your leave, but you can get benefits for up to 4 weeks before your due date if your doctor certifies that your advanced state of pregnancy prevents you from performing your usual work or from your usual commute. If I recall correctly, your 1-week waiting period will commence on the day you stopped working, even though your application won't be received until at least a few days thereafter. If you work right up until you go into labor, you can file the application as soon as the baby is born (have it all filled out except for the date your leave began so it's ready to go).

Family leave benefits can be claimed for any 6 weeks (and they don't have to be consecutive) in the year following the baby's birth, at any time after July 1, 2004. Some of the technicalities of this program, such as when to file the application, are less clear because it *is* brand new, but it's clear that when used in conjunction with SDI, you claim the SDI first and then the family leave.

As far as I know, you are not required to use any sick leave benefits (or vacation time or any other similar benefit) before claiming SDI benefits. But you must represent to the State that you are not receiving any wages, salary, sick pay or vacation pay from your usual employer while you are on leave. So if you plan to get some of your leave paid as sick time, you cannot concurrently claim SDI benefits or family leave benefits. I would suggest claiming the SDI first and then use the sick time to extend your leave, if your employer is willing to do it that way. Alternatively, you could just keep your accrued sick time and use it after you've returned to work in order to stay home with your baby when the baby is sick. :-)

All of the necesssary forms and instructions, as well as some helpful FAQs, are available on the EDD website. In Similar Circumstances


2003 & Earlier


General discussion about maternity benefits

June 2003

Knowing that Bay Area residents are aware of their rights better than anybody else in the country, I would like to ask for an advice on paid maternity leave. Recently this issue was discussed in the press. But if somebody could recap it for me I would be grateful. In particular I am interested in who is entitled, who pays, for how long and how much. Does it work for part time employees? What about paid paternity leave? Thanks. Alex


Alex,
There are different kinds of leave, depending on who your employer is and what you have elected. As far as I know, there is no maternity benefit from the state or the feds that is not connected to your being an employee, so these all tie in to your status as a worker. Some of these benefits apply to paternity leave as well, especially the ones that have "family" in the name. The ones that have "disability" in the name usually pay benefits only for days that the mother cannot work because of pregnancy or recovering from childbirth.

1. California State Disability Insurance (SDI) - This is the pay that most people get while they are off work due to pregnancy & childbirth. You can collect this only if it has been withheld from your paycheck for the required amount of time before going on leave. (Look for "SDI" on your payroll receipt) Some employees are not eligible to have SDI withheld, such as employees of the State of California (i.e., UC Berkeley employees). The length of time this pays usually depends on a statement from your doctor.

Beginning July 1, 2004, the Paid Family Leave Insurance Program kicks in with maternity benefits for SDI-covered employees. See this website: http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/pflind.asp

2. Employer-Provided Disability Insurance - If your employer provides their own insurance, and you signed up for it, you may be able to collect this while you are off. You may have to pay premiums to be eligible for this. At UC Berkeley, disability benefits are available for maternity leave but you must sign up in advance and pay premiums for them. You will probably need medical certification.

3. Paid leave - most employers will allow you to use accrued vacation and sick days for maternity and paternity leave but it is up to the employer. Many will let you also take "advanced" leave that you have not accumulated yet.

4. Unpaid leave - there are several state and federal laws that allow you to take off for up to 28 weeks without penalty, such as:

  • FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act of 1993) - 12 weeks, resrictions apply
  • PDL (Pregnancy Disability Leave, State of California) - 4 months, concurrent with FMLA
  • California Family Rights of 1991 - additional unpaid leave if medically necessary

    5. Paid maternity/paternity benefits - Some employers provide this pay as a perk in addition to sick and vacation, or as part of a cafeteria benefits program. Just depends on the employer. We don't hear of this too often on the Parents Net list, but it's worth asking your HR department about if you aren't sure.

    6. Academic leave - Some schools will continue paying students their research salary or TA salary, or faculty their salary, for the rest of the semester that the baby is born in. It depends on the department and the school.

    Hope that helps


    I also found this web site that I think would be useful for future moms. http://www.edd.ca.gov/fleclaimdi.htm
    It even has the chart that tells you how much one can expect to be paid. http://www.edd.ca.gov/direp/dicfp-wba.pdf

    Where can I find out information about maternity leave?

    January 2003

    Where can I find out information about maternity leave? I had heard that some employers can make you pay back medical benefits if you quit after the leave. Is this true in California and are there other things to consider if I decide to discontinue my employment after the baby is born.


    They don't have to pay you but they do have to continue your insurance (without demanding a refund if you quit) for 12 weeks. Here's info on the Family Medical Leave act: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/

    Here's info on the Cal Family Rights Act: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Statutes/cfra.asp

    and here's info on SDI (pregnancy is considered a ''disability''!): http://www.edd.cahwnet.gov/dicfp.htm Research carefully and Good luck! Suzy


    I was very concerned about this as well, and didn't know who to ask. It turned out that I used all my benefits (short term disabilty, state disability, sick time and vacation). After I left I actually got a check for vacation I had accrued while I was taking the sick time and vacation! I did not have to pay back any benefits. I do not know how it works if the company gives you paid maternity leave, as my short term disability was an insurance policy I had paid into. LK
    I just wanted to clarify a posting on maternity leave in the last advice digest. It's true that your employer has to maintain your benefits while you are on leave (even unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act), but it's not true that they can't ask you to pay back the cost if you quit. My employer required that I pay back their portion if I didn't return. I returned part-time without benefits so I didn't have to pay it back. lcounts
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