With few exceptions, all employers are required to participate in the state program or offer a private plan option. The Hartford offers CA PFL combined with CA SDI on an Administrative Services Only (ASO) basis.
- January 1, 2024: Changes to the contribution percentage rate are effective. In addition, per Senate Bill 951, the taxable wage base limit is removed, allowing employers to withhold a flat percentage from employees without an annual cap. The weekly maximum benefit amount for 2024 remains outstanding.
- January 1, 2025: Per Senate Bill 951, the calculation of benefits will change based on where the employee’s wage is in proximity to the state average weekly wage. Lower earners may receive up to 90% of their average weekly earnings, while higher earners will have a complex calculation of up to 70% of their wages.
Tools and Resources
The Hartford has prepared guides to help employers in CA.
CA provides resources to help employers.
What’s Covered Under the State Programs?
- Caring for a seriously ill family member under CA PFL.
- Welcoming a new child (through birth, adoption or foster placement) under CA PFL.
- CA PFL covers exigencies related to military active duty or call to active duty of an employee’s family member.
- CA SDI covers employees’ Paid Leave for a worker’s own injury or illness not related to their job.
What Are the State Plan Benefits?
- CA PFL provides up to eight weeks and CA SDI provides 52 weeks of partial pay.
- The benefits are 60% to 70% of the weekly wage, depending on an employee’s income through the end of 2024.
- For requests beginning in 2023, the maximum weekly benefit increases to $1,620 (up from $1,540 in 2022).
- The minimum weekly benefit is $50.
- CA PFL and CA SDI calculates payment based on base period. Base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the start date of the new claim.
The weekly benefit amount is determined by using the quarter in which an employee was paid the highest wages in the base period.
NOTE: San Francisco Paid Parental Leave (SFPPL) supplements CA PFL (when used for bonding), providing eligible employees working in San Francisco up to eight weeks of their remaining weekly wage, up to a weekly maximum. The weekly maximum may change annually. In 2023, the SFPPL weekly maximum is $1,080 per week, bringing the combined weekly maximum to $2,700.
How Are the State Programs Funded?
Employee contributions through payroll deductions fund CA PFL and CA SDI. Employers can elect to pay the employees’ share.
In 2024, the SDI withholding rate is 1.1% (up from 0.9% in 2023). For 2024, there is no wage limit on employee contributions.
What Are the State Plan Eligibility Requirements?
To qualify for benefits, an employee must have contributed to the CA SDI program through payroll deductions during the previous 18 months. A self-employed worker must have contributed to the Disability Elective Coverage Program in the last 18 months.
An employee must have at least $300 in wages in the base period and have paid into SDI.
Do All Employers Need To Participate?
Any private business that has more than one employee (other than household workers) and pays more than $100 a calendar quarter must register with the Employment Development Department (EDD). Such businesses must pay and collect state taxes, including CA SDI.
Is There a Private Plan Option?
California allows employers to offer a self-funded voluntary disability plan in place of CA SDI. The plan must include both Paid Medical and Paid Family leave. The State of California requires that if an employer opts out of one plan, they must opt out of the other. This plan can be managed by a private insurer on an Administrative Services Only (ASO) basis. The voluntary plan must provide all the benefits of CA SDI, with at least one benefit that is better than the state plan, and it cannot cost the employee more than SDI.
Employers (or a majority of employees) may apply to the Employment Development Department (EDD) for approval of a voluntary plan.
The Hartford can administer CA PFL on approved CA SDI voluntary plans, but not on a standalone basis. The Hartford offers Paid Family Leave administration on an integrated basis with our self-insured California State Disability Insurance, Short-term Disability and Long-term Disability offerings.
Is The Hartford Offering PFML Coverage in CA?
The Hartford can administer CA Voluntary Disability Insurance (CA VDI) with PFL voluntary plans. All voluntary plans must administer both the CA VDI as well as PFL benefits together.
Please reach out to your employee benefits representative at The Hartford for additional information.
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This informational material is subject to change as The Hartford continues to receive guidance from states and municipalities. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for legal compliance with respect to an employer’s business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute The Hartford’s undertaking on a company’s behalf, or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that an employer’s business operations are in compliance with any law, rule, or regulation. Employers seeking resolution of specific legal or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own attorney or business advisors; and employees should continue to consult their employers’ Human Resources or other employment benefits department for guidance on the application of any law, rule, or regulation.
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