button Vol. 7
No. 2


Paid Family Leave
line NLRB Watch
line Violence Update
line Defined Contribution
line SSN Time Bombs
line Briefs

Braun Consulting News
News on Personnel, Labor Relations and Benefits

See our Archive Pages for Back Issues of Braun Consulting News!

button Paid Family Leave.

  • Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program  (link)
  • Comparison Table for FED / FMLA                  (link)
  • Full Text of SB 1661                                            (link)

button California and the
   Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program.

California is the first state in the country to create a comprehensive paid family leave program.

Beginning July 1, 2004, workers will receive up to 6 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child (birth, adoption, or foster care) or seriously ill family member (parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner).

SB 1661 creates the Family Temporary Disability Insurance program that will be funded by employees through the State Disability Insurance system.

The signing of this bill places California in the position of being the first state in the nation to implement a program that pays for workers to take non-work related time off.

Unlike the current state disability program, opponents of this bill believe that this program is more likely to be fully used and abused by those employees who already have attendance problems. This is because employers would have fewer means of monitoring leave taken under this program. They also believe that SB 1661 would start the state disability insurance program down the slippery slope of the federal Social Security program that has been expanded to cover areas that was never intended or envisioned by the supporters of social security.

Supporters of the bill advanced the notion that employees are often not taking needed time off to take care of others in their family because they cannot afford to. (A 2000 survey by the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 78% of eligible employees who needed family or medical leave but did not take it cited being unable to afford unpaid leave.) They also note that funding for the benefit would be fully funded through contributions by the employee. The annual cost is projected to average $36 per worker.

Both sides on this issue agreed that the figures surrounding the impact of this bill are soft. Some numbers are put out there as projections, but no one really knows how this will impact business until it actually takes effect.



  • Current state and federal law guarantee 12 weeks of unpaid leave for those working for larger employers; this new law guarantees that 6 of those weeks would be paid.
  • Payments are capped at six weeks over a 12-month period and at 55 % of wages, up to an annually-adjusted maximum of $728 a week in 2004. Employees will began paying into the fund January 1, 2004 and can began taking leave July 1, 2004. The maximum benefit will increase automatically each year in accordance with increases in the state's average weekly wage.
  • This program is 100% employee-funded. A minimum wage earner will pay an additional $11.23 a year into SDI, while the estimated average cost is $27 per worker per year.
  • There is a one-week waiting period before workers can apply for paid family leave (like the UI program). Employers can require a worker to use a maximum of two weeks of vacation time first before receiving paid family leave. One week will be used to cover the waiting period.
  • SDI benefits are portable and move with the worker if the worker changes jobs.
  • This bill creates no new employment rights. Under current law which is not altered by this legislation, employers of less than 50 are not required to hold a job for an employee who goes on Family Temporary Disability Leave unless they employ 5 or more and the employee's leave is protected by California's Pregnancy Disability Leave law.
  • Under this bill, an employee is deemed eligible for this paid leave on any day on which that employee is unable to perform his/her regular or customary work because he/she is caring for a new child during the first year after birth or placement of a child, or a seriously ill child, parent, spouse or domestic partner. The bill does impose a seven consecutive day waiting period from the start of each leave period during which no benefits are payable.
  • Funding for the benefit would be fully funded through contributions by the employee. The annual cost is projected to average $36 per worker.
  • Supporters of the bill included the California Labor Federation, the National Organization for Women, the California Catholic Conference, the Congress of California Seniors, the California Medical Association, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
  • Among the opponents of the bill are the state's Association of Health Facilities, Farm Bureau Federation, Restaurant Association, Taxpayers Association, Retailers Association, and Milk Producers Council.

button Comparison Table for FED / FMLA.

Family Medical leavePaid Medical Leave
SB 1661
1. 12 weeks unpaid6 weeks paid leave
2. Job protected6 weeks not protected
3. Employer can require use of all accrued Vacation and paid personal time Permits employer to require use of up to 2 weeks vacation
4. Applies to Employer of 50 or more employeesApplies to all employers regardless of size
5. Requires 12 months of service to be eligibleNo minimum period of service required to be eligible
6. Allows key workers exemptionNo exemption for key worker
7. Employer designates family leaveEmployee & State designates family leaves
8. Fraud applicable only to employee's own medical condition Fraud provision overly complicated and require the invasion of family members privacy
9. Applies to seriously ill spouse, child, parents and the employees' own serious illness Applies to seriously ill spouse, child, parents,and domestic partner

2. NLRB Watch Next Page

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