Imagine this. You pay into an insurance fund for years but never use its benefits – even when you need it the most – because you are not aware of your rights! That’s the case with many California workers.
Almost all California workers pay into the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) fund – an insurance plan that provides workers partialwage-replacement for pregnancy related and other disability leaves as well as the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. The PFL program pays workers up to six weeks of their partial wages (55%) when they take time off to bond with a new child (including adoptive and foster children) or care for a seriously ill family member (parent, child, spouse or domestic partner).
The good news is that the PFL program works well for both workers and employers.
The bad news is that people who need PFL the most have little or no awareness about it.
According to a new study, 91% of people surveyed who used the PFL program said that it had a positive effect on their ability to care for a new child. PFL also doubled the duration of breastfeeding for new mothers. And the vast majority of employers surveyed reported either no impact or a positive impact on productivity and profitability.
Unfortunately, public awareness of this important program remains limited. The study showed that about half of people who needed the program over the past four years didn’t even know about it. And the people least likely to know about it – low-income workers, immigrant and Latinos – are the one who need it the most.
Paid Family Leave is a great program that supports our working families when they need time to care. It is a program that is entirely funded by contributions of working Californians and it is their right to make use of it when in need!
California was the first state in the nation to pass the Paid Family Leave law in 2002, thanks to the efforts of a coalition of unions and community organizations including the Labor Project for Working Families. The program began operating in 2004, and since then over one million people have taken advantage of it. Help us ensure that this important program is used by all Californians when they need it, especially the ones who simply cannot afford to lose even a day’s pay.
Please spread the word to your co-workers, friends and relatives. Tell expectant, adoptive, foster mothers and fathers. Share the information with those who are caring for aging parents or a seriously ill child, spouse or domestic partner. Put up posters and distribute brochures at your workplace, health clinics and community centers.