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Disability benefits increased under new California law

The new year brings new laws to the Golden State, and workers have reasons to rejoice. Under a new law that went into effect Jan. 1, family leave and disability benefits payments will increase. California workers in small businesses will also have the opportunity to take unpaid leave from their jobs, whereas before, this option was only available to workers in larger companies. 

Assembly Bill 908, signed into law by the governor last year, increases the payouts by a percentage. Previously, state law paid out for approved family or disability leave at a rate of 55 percent. Now the number will be at 60 or 70 percent, depending on the person's income. The paid leave can be taken when a person misses work due to illness, injury or pregnancy, and also to take care of a sick family member or to welcome a new child into the home. 

Additionally, the law eliminates the prior one-week waiting period for the benefits to take effect. Under the state-paid family leave program, individuals can take up to six weeks of paid time off, and it does not have to be all at once. Disability benefits can be paid for up to 52 weeks for disabling conditions not related to work. State disability insurance payroll deductions fund both of the programs. 

For individuals who need to take advantage of disability benefits or family leave in California, this is certainly good news. During a time of struggle, every financial benefit can help keep the person functioning within society. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous employers may try to avoid granting a person the protections of employment law. In those cases, many people choose to turn to the aid of an experienced attorney for more guidance. 

Source: sanluisobispo.com, "New California family leave laws boost pay, add time off", Kaytlyn Leslie, Jan. 9, 2018

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