My employee had a baby a few months ago, but she wants to wait until July to file for Paid Family Leave (PFL) so she can take advantage of the extra two weeks of benefits that take effect starting July 1. Can she wait to file her PFL claim, or does it have to be filed right after her state disability claim ends at the end of her pregnancy disability leave?
Your employee can choose to wait until July to file her Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.
For claims filed on or after July 1, 2020, the maximum duration of California’s PFL benefits will be extended from six weeks to eight weeks.
The PFL program, administered by California’s Employment Development Department (EDD), provides partial wage replacement benefits to employees who take time off work to bond with a child within one year from birth or placement for foster care or adoption, or to care for a seriously ill family member.
It is important to note that this extension of benefits from six weeks to eight weeks is available only for PFL claims filed with the EDD on or after July 1, 2020.
Date Claim Filed Is Key
For PFL claims for child bonding, the date of the child’s birth (or placement for foster care or adoption) does not affect the number of weeks of benefits. The determining factor is the date on which the PFL claim is filed.
So, for example, a parent whose baby was born in February may choose to delay filing a claim for PFL benefits until July 1 in order to be eligible for the more generous eight weeks of benefits. No matter what date an individual applies for child bonding PFL benefits, however, the benefits are payable only for one year from the date of the child’s birth or placement for foster care or adoption.
Those who file for PFL before July 1, 2020 are eligible for only a total of six weeks of benefits. This is true even if the individuals have used some or all of their six weeks of benefits by June 30, and then take additional weeks of baby bonding time off after July 1, because it is the initial claim start date that determines whether there are six or eight weeks of benefits available.