baby feet held by parents maternity

Paid maternity leave in California – How do you get it and for how long?


Maternity and family leave after baby

If you are a California resident and pregnant you might be thrilled to hear that you can actually get paid maternity and family leave.

Your partner can take family leave too.

This was such a huge stress relief when I had my baby not to have to go back to work right away when I’m not even recovered from childbirth yet.

Many states don’t even offer a maternity or family leave for new parents which is completely insane.

Every pregnant women in the US should have the right to take time off to bond with her newborn baby without having to worry how to survive with bills and monthly costs.

I we were still living in Germany I would’ve been able to take up to 2 years of partially paid family leave.

BUT – there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to get it paid.

Do I qualify for the California paid maternity / family leave?

As a new mom you can possibly take up to 4 weeks before the calculated due date and six weeks after delivery for a natural birth and 8 weeks after delivery for a c-section as paid maternity leave.

If you do take the maternity leave your claim will automatically trainsition into the paid family leave for another six weeks.

That means you as mother can take a total of 16 weeks – that means until your baby is at least 3 months old.

PLUS: Your partner can take the 6 weeks of paid family leave off too!

This is a disability claim that is processed by the EDD (Employment Development Department)

In order to qualify for the family leave you will have to meet these requirements:

  • You need to take time off to take care of a seriously ill family member or you are welcoming a new baby to your family and you want to bond with it. (so if you are pregnant you can check that off the list)
  • You have to be covered by the State Disability Insurance (SDI) – This means you have to pay into that insurance. If you look at your paycheck and there is a charge for SDI every month you did contribute and are covered. If you are unsure or can not find that on your paycheck ask your HR department.
  • You must have earned at least $300 within the last 5-18 months. (Even if you have a minimum wage job this should be covered)
  • You can not submit the claim later than 41 days after starting your leave.
  • You have not already taken the maximum amount of 6 weeks time off within the last 12 months. (But you can break the leave up)
newborn baby paid family leave

How much money will I get?

This depends completely on the wage you would normally get.

The California Paid Family Leave provides you with approximately 60-70 % of your regular paycheck with a maximum of $1,216 per week.

So to check how much money you get the EDD will calculate from your highest quarterly earnings over the past 5-18 months of employment.

This will be verified with your employer.

You can use the online calculator to get a estimate of how much you can expect here: Paid Family Leave Calculator

This may also be interesting:
– Start Breastfeeding
– Hospital Bag – What do you really need?
– Cost of Childbirth in the USA

– Freebies for your Baby
– Signs of labor

Do I have job protection?

Unfortunately you are not guaranteed to get your job back once the family leave ends.

You might be covered under the laws with the federal Family and Medical leave act, california family rights act or the new parent leave act (if you qualify for that)

No matter what – you should let your employer know well before you plan on taking time off.

I announced my pregnancy to my employer in my second trimester and immediately discussed my plans about taking the maternity leave plus family leave.

The company I was working at is very small and they never had the situation so I educated them on my rights as pregnant women.

It is definitely worth it to talk to your employer prepared with information about how long you can take time off after childbirth.

baby and mother on maternity leave

How do I apply?

This is fairly easy and not complicated at all.

Bring some patience though – It took a few weeks until I received my first payment after already being on leave so saving up a little extra sure won’t hurt.

To start your claim follow these easy steps:

  1. File your claim online with their portal SDI Online or via mail (Online will still be faster) once you start your leave.
  2. Call your doctor or let them know at your next checkup to please verify the claim (They need to verify the pregnancy)
    Make sure you have your claim number for that to make it fast and easy for your doctor.
  3. Your employer will get a letter and need to verify your income. So hopefully you have a nice employer that will do that fast too.
  4. Wait (this can take a few weeks)

Within a few weeks you will receive a letter that your claim was accepted or denied.

If you were denied you can contact the EDD via Phone or on their website.

If you are approved you should also receive a second letter with your EDD Debit Card.

This is where all your money will be loaded on and you can use it just like any other debit card.

Now all you have to do is activate your card.

Enjoy bonding with your new bundle of joy – You deserve it!

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