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California’s planned extension of paid family leave and how it works with Stanford’s paid leave

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Unrelated to the current pandemic, in June 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill (SB 83) that would extend paid family leave benefits to eight weeks, effective July 1, 2020. 

Previously, eligible Californians could receive such benefits for six weeks, to be used when caring for a seriously ill family member or bonding with a new child. The benefits are paid through state disability insurance, which provides a portion of the employee’s pay, up to a weekly maximum. 

How it works at Stanford

Stanford administers a state-approved, comparable disability plan that includes paid family leave (known at the university as Family Temporary Disability, or FTD). In January 2020, the university announced that it would provide six weeks of FTD leave at 100% of base pay for benefits-eligible employees, meaning that after the disability plan provides its payable amount, the university provides the rest without asking you to use accrued PTO or vacation time. 

So what happens at Stanford on July 1 when the state disability extends to eight weeks? 

  • There is no change to the way the first six weeks is paid: the disability plan provides its payable amount and the university provides the rest without asking you to use accrued PTO or vacation time, providing 100% of base pay for eligible employees. 

  • You may take two additional weeks of leave, partially paid through disability insurance (up to a weekly maximum), with the option to use accrued paid time off to reach 100% of base pay.

  • If you live in a state with no paid family leave, you’re eligible to receive benefits under the short-term disability plan. Under this plan, you also receive family leave pay, up to the same weekly maximum as in California. For the first six weeks, the university pays the difference between what the plan pays and 100% of your base pay. For the additional two weeks, disability provides its payable amount and you may choose to use accrued paid time off to reach 100% of base pay.

How does FMLA fit with paid family leave?

Disability insurance provides partial wage replacement but does not provide job protection. For eligible employees, federal law (FMLA) and California law (CFRA) provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave during a rolling 12-month period. If you are eligible for job protection, after you take eight weeks of allowed paid family leave, you can request up to four weeks of additional leave time that is job protected but doesn't include paid disability benefits (though you may use accrued PTO and vacation time for salary continuation during that time). Note that FTD leaves can be taken intermittently, typically in increments of at least two weeks.

Leave information on Cardinal at Work is in the process of being updated. If you have questions about an upcoming family leave, talk to your HR Manager. 

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