On September 24, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that expands the application of the Family Temporary Disability Insurance program beginning on July 1, 2014. Family Temporary Disability Insurance is also known as Paid Family Leave. Paid Family Leave is a paid benefit provided by California Employment Development Department (“CA EDD”) when an employee is on an authorized employer leave. Paid Family Leave does not create a new right to leave but instead provides a means for eligible employees to receive paid benefits from CA EDD when on an authorized leave. The new law (SB 770) amends Sections 2708, 3300, 3301, 3302, and 3303 of the Unemployment Insurance Code relating to unemployment insurance.Currently, the Paid Family Leave program provides up to six (6) weeks of wage replacement benefits to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or domestic partner or to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption.  

The new law expands the scope to also include paid benefits when an employee is taking time off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law. The bill also makes conforming and clarifying changes in provisions relating to family temporary disability compensation. Employers should be sure to modify any related policies by July 1, 2014.