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Leave benefits increase coming to California in 2018

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Changes are coming to California Paid Family Leave benefits as of 2018 that are beneficial to many employees and neutral to most employers. The current paid family leave law in the state allows eligible employees in the state to receive 55 percent of their wages for up to six weeks should they take off to bond with newborn children, take care of an ailing parent, child or spouse, or deal with an injury or illness to one's self.

It's important to note that California's law is in addition to the Federal Family Medical Leave Act, which provides for unpaid leave that is protected. The federal law is what protects certain workers from losing their jobs if they must take off for medical reasons.

The changes coming to the California law will boost the amount paid to workers from 55 percent of wages to 60 to 70 percent of wages depending on how much an employee earns on average. The employee must also meet qualifications, such as having worked for a certain amount of time and having earned a certain amount. Not all employers are covered by the law, either.

In most cases, this law won't cost employers any additional funds. The benefits are not paid by employers; they are paid out of the same state funds that disability insurance is paid.

The updated bill also removes a one-week waiting period that previously held up California FML payments, which means individuals impacted by such situations should see less influence on cash flow. If you are dealing with a California FML claim or a regular disability claim and believe you aren't being afforded the payments owed to you, consider talking to a legal professional about options for dealing with wrongfully denied claims.

Source: EBN, "Paid family leave increasing in Calif., San Francisco sees further top-up," Sheryl Smolkin, April 21, 2016

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