Disability Benefits
Illness and family leaves for California education workers


umbrella signifying protection

State Disability Insurance (SDI)

The State Disability Insurance program provides short-term Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers who need time off work.

  • You may be eligible for Disability Insurance if you are unable to work due to non-work-related illness or injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.
  • You may be eligible for Paid Family Leave to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.
  • Please note: Education workers may or may not be eligible for SDI, depending upon if your local union has negotiated elective coverage. See additional leave options below. 

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their own serious health condition or a family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new child.

  • Recent legislation, effective January 1, 2021, expands CFRA in several major respects.
  • In addition, California law requires covered employers to provide employees disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition with unpaid, job-protected leave and/or accommodations. 

Leaves for Education Workers in California

  • Learn specifics about the paid family leave options available to education workers in California. Watch our CFT training video below, Parental Leaves for Education Workers
  • For classified employees, the CFT Council of Classified Employees has compiled this list of leave options, including paid, partially paid and unpaid leaves. 

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specified family and medical reasons. It also requires that the employee’s group health insurance coverage be maintained under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave for:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • the care of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”