California Maternity and Paternity Leave: Part 2 - Application Guide

Someone told me that the most frustrating part of pregnancy was figuring out maternity leave.  It wasn't until I had to call the Employment Development Department (EDD) for the first time in my life to file for Paid Disability Leave (PDL) that I realized how frustrating the process really is.

After a morning spent calling in, going through the lengthy prompts only to be put on hold and then told that the queue has met its maximum number of waiting callers and that I'll have to call back another time and being hung up on 4 times, I called on mothers who already went through the process.  Here's a guide.

Step 1: Register on the State Disability Insurance (SDI) website.  You will want to know what date you are starting leave and unless there is doctor's authorization for an earlier date, the first authorized PDL date is 4 weeks before your due date. 

Step 2: File your claim.  If before the baby's arrival, use the Disability claim.  If after the baby's arrival, use the Paid Family Leave (PFL claim.)

Step 3: Contact your healthcare provider to get verification of Disability.  I have Kaiser so I contacted their disability department and provided the document number on my EDD filing and they did the rest. 

Step 4: Wait 2-4 weeks for a Bank of America Debit card. The card will be loaded with funds starting with the Monday- Sunday pay period less the 7 unpaid from your last day of work. 

Step 5: Activate the Bank of America Debit card.  It can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted or you can setup Direct Deposit Transfer to put the funds directly into your bank account.

Step 6: When the baby arrives, file online for PFL through the SDI online system.  You will have 6 weeks of paid leave for a vaginal birth, 8 weeks of paid leave for a c-section.

For more information about who is eligible, how much you might qualify for and a general overview of California Maternity and Paternity Leave, click here

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