The California Employment Development Department, the agency responsible for administering the state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits program, recently announced a grant program to help small businesses offset the costs associated with employees taking paid family leave.
California’s PFL Program
The PFL program provides up to eight weeks of benefit payments to employees who need time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member, bond with a new child, or because of a family member’s military deployment. PFL benefits are intended to, at least partially, replace wages that would otherwise be lost while an employee is on an unpaid leave of absence.
Purpose of PFL Grants
When employees are on leave, employers often incur costs to either hire replacement workers or “upskill” or cross-train existing employees to perform tasks that the person on leave would have otherwise done. Recruiting, marketing and training can impose additional costs.
The California Paid Family Leave Grant program is designed to help small businesses with these costs. Businesses with 1-50 employees are eligible to apply for a grant of $2,000 per employee receiving PFL benefits between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024; while businesses with 51-100 employees are eligible to apply for a $1,000 grant per employee for this same period.
Eligibility requirements for PFL Grants
To be eligible, the employer (1) must be registered to do business in the State of California; (2) be in active status with the California Secretary of State’s Office; and (3) have an active California Employer Account Number (CEAN) under which their employees are listed for payroll. It is important to note that small businesses that use a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) for payroll are not eligible for these grants.