Be in the Know: New Rules on Leave

Since January 1, 2004, California’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) has been in effect.

Coverage and cost

Learn more about your state rules and eligibility.

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Covered employers

All private sector employers with California employees.

Coverage options

State plan or state-approved private plan. Private plans must be approved by a majority of employees and must be more generous than the state plan.


0.9% of employee wages up to $153,164 annually (maximum annual contribution is $1,378.48). Employer may elect to pay all or part of the employee contribution. For state-approved private plans, the employer must fund the additional cost if the private plan is greater than the state cost.

Effective January 1, 2024, the employee contribution rate adjusts to 1.1% and the contribution limit (taxable wage base) is removed.

Employee eligibility

To be eligible for PFML benefits, employees must have contributed to the Paid Medical Leave (PML) program and earned at least $300 in gross wages during the base period during which PML deductions were taken.

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Leave reasons

Care of a family member, bonding, medical, qualifying exigency and caring for a service member.

Job protection

California PFML does not provide job protection.

Other protections and provisions

No waiting period is required for Paid Family Leave (PFL) but the employer may require that employees use two weeks of vacation/PTO (not including sick leave) before receiving PFL benefits.


  • For employees who make up to one-third of the state’s average quarterly wage (SAQW), 70% of the employee’s quarterly base wages (increases to 90% in 2025).
  • For employees who make more than one-third of the SAQW, 60% of the employee’s quarterly base wages.
  • Maximum weekly benefit = $1,620.
  • For 2024, there are no changes to the maximum weekly benefit amount which continues to be based on the California maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations.
  • Medical leave has a seven-day waiting period and is capped at 52 weeks of benefits.
  • Family leave has no waiting period and is capped at eight weeks of benefits.
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Timeline and key dates

  • Effective July 1, 2004
  • Effective January 1, 2021: leave to address qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s call to active duty service is a qualifying reason for leave.

Need more information?

Visit California’s website for additional details.

CA Paid Family Leave
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How Unum can help

While Unum does not offer CA PML or PFL insurance plans, we can administer an employer’s self-funded CA PML and PFL plan.

Still looking for more information?

Check out our latest in leave content, and explore the State PFML Guide and our Leave Toolkit.

Have questions?

Reach out to our sales team to learn more about Unum’s state PFML and absence management solutions.