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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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We live in california. My wife is 5 months pregnant and we

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We live in california. My wife is 5 months pregnant and we are wondering about Short Term disability ,Paid Family Leave, pay when she has to take time off after the baby is born. Her current salary is $2500/Week, working as a engineering manager. And not being at that level of income post delivery, is going to derail some financial responsibilities.

Is it possible to come close to this amount with a combination of Short Term Disability, and Paid Family Leave payments? If not are there any other options?
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Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Under both California's Paid Family Leave and State Disability programs, claimants are entitled to 55% of their average weekly earnings up to $1,067 per week. No claimant, regardless of their income level, is entitled to more in wage replacement under any state assistance program. See here for a chart which calculates the amount in benefits relative to income:

Since your wife is making $2,500 per week, she would likely be entitled to the maximum weekly benefits amount under either PFL or SDI, but regretfully there is no way that state assistance alone will bring her up to her usual income level, as SDI and PFL cannot be drawn upon at the same time.

Unfortunately, the only way to obtain 100% wage replacement is to use employer-offered sick leave or vacation leave. However, this assume that your employer offers such leave and that your wife has accured enough such time to cover her entire absence from work.

There are other programs, such as California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Law and the CFRA's "baby bonding" law which permit pregnant women and new mothers to take protected time off work, but those programs unfortunately do not provide any sort of wage replacement---they simply secure the woman's position while she is gone. SDI and PFL are the only state programs which provide actual wage replacement for expecting and new mothers. Thus, the only options to "fill the financial void," so to speak, are to enroll in either SDI or PFL, or the use accrued sick or vacation pay.

I am very happy to discuss your wife's options in further detail, or to discuss the baby bonding and PDLL programs I referenced above if you desire more information concerning unpaid protected leave. I am sorry I cannot provide more favorable information with regard to your wife's options for wage replacement, but I do nonetheless hope that you have found my answer thus far to be informative.

Very best wishes to you both, and congratulations with regard to the expected addition to your family.

I just wanted to follow up with you because we had some site issues last night that may have preventing you from being able to view my answer. Did you have any questions concerning the above?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the clear and concise information. How long is the SDI and PFL applicable? Our baby is due end of september. Thank You.

Thank you for your reply. SDI can be collected for up to 52 weeks. However, in order to collect SDI, you must be able to show that you are unable to do your regular or customary work for at least eight consecutive days. You will need a doctor's certification of this fact. While pregnant women are almost certainly eligible for SDI toward the latter part of their pregnancy and shortly after, there are of course limitations on how long they are reasonably likely to satisfy the definition of "disabled," barring serious pregnancy complications.

PFL, which is separate from SDI and does not require a showing of disability, can be collected for 6 weeks. Accordingly, it may be wise to start with SDI once you can get a certification of disability from your doctor (unable to do regular work for at least 8 consecutive days) and then switch to PFL once SDI is no longer an option.

Also keep in mind that, while employers are required to offer 4 months of protected job leave pursuant to the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, employers are otherwise free to terminate pregnant employees and new mothers, so more extended absences may not be wise unless you are very confident in your job security.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 11027
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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