State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave Benefits Related to COVID-19

The Department of Employment Development Department (EDD) has issued guidance in the form of frequently asked questions related to state benefits available to employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19. If an employee is unable to work because they are sick or have been exposed and have supporting medical documentation, they may be eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits. If an employee is unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, they may be eligible for Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. Pursuant to Gov. Newsome’s executive order issued on March 12, 2020, the seven-day waiting period for SDI benefits is waived for this purpose.

As a reminder, SDI and PFL apply to all sized employers with employees working in California, whereas the paid leave provided under the FFCRA applies only to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and non-federal governmental employers of any size. If an employer is subject to both laws and an employee is eligible for paid leave under both state law and FFCRA, the guidance is not clear as to how they would coordinate. Existing guidance provides information on how typically SDI/PFL would pay first with any salary continuation from an employer paying second. The employee may not receive more than their normal wage and the employer will only be eligible for the tax credit on wages it paid under FFCRA (not for benefits the employee received under SDI or PFL).

EDD Guidance on COVID-19 Related SDI and PFL Benefits »
EDD Existing Guidance on Coordination of Benefits with SDI/PFL and Employer Payments »
Executive Order, March 12, 2020 »