Author Topic: California Paid Family Leave and PTO  (Read 5448 times)

jeromedawg

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California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« on: January 11, 2016, 01:49:23 PM »
Hey guys,

So one of my former coworkers mentioned to me that within the first year of having a baby, you can apply for California PFL. My previous employee already offered parental leave (which is 4 weeks fully paid by the company). He went on to mention that you can still receive the PFL benefit even if you've taken parental leave because it's completely separate. And in fact, he gave a couple examples of other employees who were able to receive PFL pay on top of taking parental leave. Does this sound right?

My understanding is that PFL is intended to only 'supplement' the parental leave... so my company would have me take 4 weeks of the parental leave fully paid by them, of which PFL would not supplement, and then I would apply for the PFL (which is partial salary pay) for another few weeks. Or maybe I'm just confused. I guess what I really wanted to know is if you really are supposed to be able to receive PFL pay in addition to whatever company benefit or time-off you've taken for such an event.

   

MerryMcQ

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 03:22:57 PM »
I used to oversee our leave department at work in California, so I know just how crazy confusing leaves in California can be.

First, you need to mentally separate out PAID leave vs. PROTECTED leave.

As a new parent, you are entitled to 12 weeks of PROTECTED leave in the 1st year after your baby's birth. This leave is protected, meaning your employer can't fire you for taking it. It has absolutely no pay attached to it. It is a federal law called the FMLA. It only applies if you've worked at your current employer for at least 12 months.

[Note, as a pregnant woman, it gets WAY more complicated. I'm presuming you are the non-birth-giving parent. If you gave birth, I can explain how various leave laws work to give you about 45 weeks of protected leave in more detail but it will give you a headache.]

Second, as a Californian, you are entitled to 6 weeks of PAID family leave (PFL). This leave is paid by the State of California, generally about 55% of your normal take-home pay, and has NO PROTECTION. That means if you choose to use it, the State will pay you, but your employer can fire you. There is a 2 week waiting period to get the pay, so you actually have to take 8 weeks off to get paid for 6. However, you can't get paid more than 100% of your salary, so if your employer paid you full pay while you took time off, you can't take the pay from the State. But, if you take the California pay during the 12 weeks of protected FLMA leave, then you have both protected leave and paid family time.

Really easy to understand, right? :)

So, yes, as a new parent (non-birth giving), you get 12 weeks of leave. California will pay you for 6 of those. If your employer paid you for 4 weeks of leave, and then you went back to work, you can take 8 more weeks of leave prior to the baby's 1st birthday, and the State will pay you, and your employer can't fire you. The 4 weeks you took paid can count towards your 2 week waiting period, too.




jeromedawg

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 04:21:52 PM »
I understand the difference between FMLA and PFL but what I'm more confused about is the employer's parental leave policy (and pay) overlapping with PFL.

Also, I was with my previous employer for over a year so I had FMLA with them. However, I quit on 12/30 and as of 12/31, I'm with a new employer. My leave under the previous employer was from 11/30-12/28 - I'm still able to 'retroactively' file a claim for that period right? But when it asks for who my "current" employer for the previous leave that I took and am filing PFL for, am I supposed to put the previous employer or my new employer?

« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 04:31:39 PM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 04:35:30 PM »
Hm I just re-read this part that you mentioned: "However, you can't get paid more than 100% of your salary, so if your employer paid you full pay while you took time off, you can't take the pay from the State."

My coworker told me that he took part of his parental leave (which is an "other pay" benefit the company offers that pays 100% of your salary) and was still paid by the state... it sounds like that wasn't supposed to happen? (and in the case that it doesn't happen per whatever 'loophole' that might exist to allow this, wouldn't you be subject to potential tax penalties or IRS investigation?)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 04:58:45 PM by jplee3 »

MerryMcQ

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 09:30:02 PM »
First, your new employer doesn't have any obligation to let you take leave. You have to be there for 12 months before the FMLA kicks in.

Second, if you want to file for retroactive PFL,  if your previous employer fully paid you, you can't request PFL pay. When you file for PDL, California's Employment division sends this cute little 2 page form to your employers asking if you 1) worked there, 2) what you get paid, and 3) if you took leave on the dates you said you did. Then they ask if the employer paid you full or partial wages. If your employer tells them you were paid full wages, the State goes about putting you into collections for overpayment.

Some types of pay, the state doesn't count as pay, so in those cases, you could get double the money.

So, yes, your coworker who pulled pay and PFL, may have to pay back some or all of it... Depending on how the employer reports the pay to the state. It would be a question for your old HR dept, if you want to know for sure.

jeromedawg

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2016, 08:54:14 AM »
First, your new employer doesn't have any obligation to let you take leave. You have to be there for 12 months before the FMLA kicks in.

Second, if you want to file for retroactive PFL,  if your previous employer fully paid you, you can't request PFL pay. When you file for PDL, California's Employment division sends this cute little 2 page form to your employers asking if you 1) worked there, 2) what you get paid, and 3) if you took leave on the dates you said you did. Then they ask if the employer paid you full or partial wages. If your employer tells them you were paid full wages, the State goes about putting you into collections for overpayment.

Some types of pay, the state doesn't count as pay, so in those cases, you could get double the money.

So, yes, your coworker who pulled pay and PFL, may have to pay back some or all of it... Depending on how the employer reports the pay to the state. It would be a question for your old HR dept, if you want to know for sure.

Right, I know I won't have FMLA at the new place and forfeited that when I left my old place.

I see, one of my former coworkers made it seem like EDD doesn't care about what the employer does and vice-versa. But it seems there's more to it than that... I'm thinking those guys might eventually get hit with collections if not now perhaps another year or two out (this is what happened to me when I incorrectly reported something on my taxes - the IRS came back almost 2-3 years later with a collections notice).

I sent an email off to my HR dept asking how the pay is reported. What would an example be of a type of pay that the state doesn't count as "pay" though?

mm1970

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2016, 10:12:49 AM »
The explanation she gave is correct, but let me tell you it is complicated!

FMLA is time off, period.  12 weeks.  But most companies require you to be there a  year before you take it.  Which means you are out of luck with the new company.

PFL is pay, and it's a supplement.  If you are collecting full pay from your company, you cannot collect PFL concurrently.  If you were collecting partial pay from your company, you can collect PFL.

EDD does care.

At my first company, it was pretty clean - I look PDL and PFL (I'm the one who gave birth), and my company paid me for 2 week waiting period as sick time.

At my second company, it was a lot messier.  I had to take PTO for 2 week waiting period, then my company paid me full salary for 6 weeks, so I had to reimburse them for disability.

Messy.

MerryMcQ

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2016, 01:17:24 PM »
Per California's EDD:

Quote
You must report the following wages to the EDD: Adoption Pay, Back Pay, Bereavement Pay, Bonus Pay, Commissions, DI benefits, Donated Sick Leave Credits, Earnings from Partial Return to Work, Employer-Required Vacation pay, Holiday Pay, In Home Support Services wages, In Lieu of Notice Pay, Kin Care, Military Pay, Paid Time Off, Plant Shut Down Pay, Residuals, Rerun Fees, Reuse Fees, Sick Leave Pay, Unemployment Insurance benefits, or Workers’ Compensation benefits. Reporting these wages ensure you receive the correct benefit amount and prevents an overpayment.

So, I'm not sure what wouldn't count, as my employer didn't have any really unusual pay types...

But your old HR dept certainly should know if their parental leave pay is something unusual, not sick pay or kin care pay or vacation...

jeromedawg

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 09:50:48 AM »
Sorry for resurrecting this old thread but a weird situation came up with my current employer where they ended up paying me in full in addition to me receiving state pay. The whole thing is super-confusing...but I guess I didn't file the time right and/or was told the wrong thing(s) about how to go about filing - the last thing they told me before all this came up was that I should just let my manager know about my intended time off, send in the CA EDD PFL extension, and then file whatever supplemental PTO hours I need to make up for the rest of the pay.
But the HR leave person I just spoke with to clarify this told me that they don't track what CA EDD pays out and vice versa. She said that since I'm an exempt team member, they're not tracking intermittent absences (whether taking one day a week or several hours a day), so I have to have my manager fill out a payroll dock form now to account for and offset my company pay so that I'm not getting overpaid. Moving forward I need to contact the leave administrator before scheduling time-off and request an intermittent absence under FMLA in addition to requesting a payroll dock (since, again/apparently, they don't track what EDD pays out so technically I'm responsible for doing that).

It seemed like she was implying that this is a 'loophole' of sorts where you can get double paid. I want to make sure I'm doing it the right way and not abusing this though.... also, aren't there going to be negative tax implications if I receive full pay from work *and* the state pay? It seems like that could trigger some sort of audit.

I'm still relatively confused with everything that has happened up until this point... it's weird because the leave I've been taking is an extension of the original claim I filed, so CA EDD/PFL treats it as one event but apparently my company treats it as completely separate events.

EDIT: I also contacted the 3rd party company who administers the FMLA leave and they said I can't backdate FMLA beyond 30 days, which is when I first took some of the time off... does that mean my company now has grounds for letting me go based on those days I was out?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 10:13:26 AM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 11:04:38 AM »
So more fun as I've looked into all this, but the leave administration company billed me for both CFRA and FMLA hours against 480hrs (12 weeks) so they essentially double-docked me... they're researching it but that sounds really wrong

mm1970

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 01:45:47 PM »
Ugh.  Good luck.  Try google.  Honestly, when I went through all of this (twice!), google knew best - and generally it was Universities that had the most accurate information in their HR handbooks.

My company paid me in full for my mat leave for my second kid, and all I had to to was write them a check for the money that I got from EDD.  That way it wasn't messy.  I essentially reimbursed them for my Pregnancy disability pay and my PFL.

IngaB

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 03:28:33 PM »
It always amazes me how Canada is different from US when it comes to maternity leave and associated paid benefits.

Here, we have PAID and PROTECTED parental leave for 52 weeks (1 year) of the baby's first year. All you have to do to qualify for this is work before the leave (full-time or part-time) and pay your taxes. The payments are basically 55% of your previous pay (there is a maximum limit)  (but your job is still guaranteed for one year).

Some employers provide top up to government-paid parental benefits. My employer tops it it to 93% of my normal pay for 8 months.

It is nice to stay at home for a year, bond with a baby and not worry about money :) Especially with a paid-off house (yes, I am a mustashian).

However, I must say that in Canada we way somewhat higher income taxes, when compared to the states.

jeromedawg

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Re: California Paid Family Leave and PTO
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 06:42:59 PM »
Yea this whole thing is a mess... slowly we're figuring things out - they're correcting the accounting error with # of hours supposedly so that should be taken care of. On top of that, they have to figure out a way to retroactively apply the FMLA leave to my prior time off taken. My manager didn't know about all this and I'm finding out about it now even after checking with my HR/leave administration prior to all this.

Aside from that I have to have my manager submit a payroll dock for previously time off as well as moving forward. I'll probably have to spread it out too so they don't dock me to the point where I have a crazy-low paycheck lol.

All this would have been much simpler had they dichotomized FMLA apart from the paid benefit - instead they lump it together so that the date you start/end applies to FMLA... doesn't make a lot of sense in my mind. If I have a kid and you sign me up for FMLA, it should just be in effect regardless for the remainder of the year... why would they opt anyone out of it? It just creates more paperwork and confusion... the paid leave policy my company offered was a new thing as of 2016 so it doesn't sound like they had everything in order.