How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits in California

The best way to apply for Paid Family Leave is online, using State Disability Insurance (S.D.I.) Online. The E.D.D. also accepts P.F.L. applications by mail, but you have to request that a hard copy be mailed to you (unlike with unemployment insurance, which allows you to mail or fax a form printed from the E.D.D.’s website).

[Here’s more on what you need for your application].

The Employment Development Department also will require a medical certification or written order from a state or local health officer documenting that your family member is infected with or suspected of being infected with Covid-19. Covered family members include children, parents, parents-in-law, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren. Doctors can upload a certification to the E.D.D. if you apply for benefits online. Otherwise, they have to fill out a portion of the hard copy form.

Employees who are sick with Covid-19 can apply for S.D.I. benefits online or by mail. State Disability Insurance provides the same pay rate as Paid Family Leave (60 or 70 percent of your income, up to a cap of $1,300 per week), and can continue for 52 weeks, with no waiting period for coronavirus-related claims. To apply, you will need a certification from a doctor documenting your condition, or a written order from a state or local health officer stating that you have (or are suspected of having) Covid-19.

Although you cannot claim unemployment insurance, S.D.I. and P.F.L. at the same time, you can use these benefits consecutively.

For more information about your workplace rights related to coronavirus, see Legal Aid at Work’s F.A.Q. or contact its virtual Workers’ Rights Clinic at (415) 404-9093 for a free, confidential consultation.

As an employer, what am I required to provide for my employees if they need to take sick time or care for a relative because of Covid-19?

Effective April 2 through Dec. 31, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act will require government employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide 10 paid sick days to workers to address their own Covid-19 illness, mandatory self-isolation or quarantine (at 100 percent pay, up to $511 per day).

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