California was the first state with paid family leave laws, starting in 2004. Nearly all employers are required to participate in this state program or offer a private plan. Any private business with more than one employee, paying $100+ in a quarter must pay and collect state taxes, including State Disability Insurance (SDI), which funds this leave.
To qualify, employees must have contributed to the California SDI program through payroll deductions during the previous 18 months. Self-employed workers must have contributed to the disability elective coverage program.
The California Family Rights Act stipulates eligible employees can take a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period.
FMLA allows mothers to use 12 weeks for childbirth, for prenatal care and incapacity related to pregnancy, or for a serious health condition following childbirth. A spouse can use FMLA for the birth of a child and to care for a spouse incapacitated due to childbirth or pregnancy. The New Parent Leave Act allows for 12 weeks of leave as well, covering maternity leave for mothers and paternity leave for fathers. If an employee is covered under FMLA and the California Family Rights Act they will not qualify for New Parent Leave Act.
FMLA is the only federal legislation covering parental leave. Paternity leave laws vary across other states, usually consisting of vacation and sick leave.