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California Short-term Disability (SDI) Funding and Waiting Period

Is California State Disability Insurance (SDI) paid for by the employers, or by workers? What is the waiting period before collecting SDI? Can an employee collect both SDI and unemployment at the same time?

The California State Disability Insurance or SDI program is funded entirely by employees, through payroll deductions. Not one cent of the money for this program comes from employers. For 2007, the contribution rate is 6/10 of 1% based on the first $83,889 that the employee earns during the year.

Every SDI claim has a seven-day waiting period that is unpaid. So, under SDI, disability payments begin after 8 days of disability. That’s 8 calendar days, not 8 work days. Both elective and cosmetic surgery are covered under SDI. In either case, a doctor must certify that an employee cannot perform his or her usual duties, due to the surgery.

A worker cannot collect both SDI and unemployment benefits at the same time in California. SDI pays benefits to workers who have a serious condition, verified by a doctor, which makes them unable to work. Unemployment insurance pays benefits to workers who are fit to work, but can’t find a job. Both of these conditions cannot be true at the same time, so workers are entitled to SDI OR unemployment benefits, but not both. Trying to collect both is fraud under state laws.

A worker who becomes disabled while he or she is receiving unemployment benefits should immediately inform the department of employment security. The worker may well be entitled to collect SDI at that point.

Some government workers, including school employees, may be entitled to SDI benefits under a collective bargaining agreement. An employee who has income from both a government agency and a private employer during the base period may also qualify for benefits. If in doubt, it always makes better sense for the employee to apply for SDI benefits.

Caring for a family member with a serious illness is also covered by Paid Family Leave, a separate program under SDI. Employees may use the time to care for a child, spouse, or parent. In addition, employees may take time off under Paid Family Leave to care for a domestic partner with a serious medical condition.  

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 1:29 pm and is filed under
Attendance Management, Benefits, Compensation, Human Resources Management, Labor Laws, Workplace Management.
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4 Responses to “California Short-term Disability (SDI) Funding and Waiting Period”

  1. tommy Says:

    Just wanted to say I really liked the site. You have really put a lot of time into your posts and it is just great!

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Check back often, tommy! We post 5 days per week!~ Caitlin

  3. Carol Says:

    During the 8 day waiting period to collect SDI, could I be paid sick leave by my employer?

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Carol! You will have to check with SDI, but generally speaking SDI is to partially replace lost income. If you are still collecting full income (through sick leave) then you do not qualify. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

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