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FA R M   L A B O R   I N F O R M AT I O N   B U L L E T I N

Voice of the Fields California

January 2014


Unemployment Insurance


he Unemployment Insurance Program, also known as UI, provides workers who lose their steady income with weekly monetary payments. The UI program pays benefits to individuals to help pay for necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. The UI program is administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD). We have asked the EDD for their most commonly asked questions, and we have answered them for you below:

What are the eligibility requirements? To be entitled to benefits, you must be: Out of work due to no fault of your own, physically able to work, actively seeking work and ready to accept work.

How soon can I file a UI claim? If you have been laid off or are working less than 40 hours a week because work is slow, you should file a claim right away. Call the EDD Unemployment line at 1-800-300-5616 (English) or 1-800-326-8937 (Spanish). Representatives are available to help you over the phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays. You can also visit the EDD’s website to open/re-open your claim. What is the correct way to report weekly earnings on your UI form? You should add up the hours you have worked in a week, and multiply that number by your hourly wage. This amount is what you must report on your UI form. You must report the total amount earned before deductions. You should not wait until you receive your paycheck to report your earned wages, the wages must be reported when you work, not when you get paid. Reporting wages incorrectly may jeopardize your eligibility to receive benefits. How much can I expect to receive from my Unemployment Insurance claim?

Weekly benefit amounts range from a minimum of $40 to a maximum of $450 depending on the claimant’s earnings.

If I work with different companies in a week, how do I report how much money I earned from each employer, and which of the companies do I need to report as the last company I worked for each week? You must add together all of the hours worked in a week for each employer; you then multiply this number by the hourly wage for each employer. This is what should be reported on your UI benefits’ form each week. If you worked for more than one employer during the same week, be sure and list the last day you physically worked during the week and list the name and address of the last employer. You must report all the money you earned and all the employers you worked for. I have tried to call the EDD to open an unemployment benefits claim, but I am unable to get through to a representative. While I am trying to contact the EDD, I am called back to work. What can I do regarding the weeks that I did not work and was unable to file a claim via the telephone? If you want to file a claim for the previous weeks, you must call the EDD and give the reason why you were unable to file a claim as soon as you qualified for benefits. Depending

Volume 24, Number 1 on your reason, the department will mail you a telephone appointment to determine whether or not your reason for not calling sooner is valid. It’s important that you call as soon as you‘re no longer working, no matter the reason. If I have exhausted my UI benefits, how soon can I apply for benefits again? You may open a new claim after one year has elapsed from the date of your original application. Before re-applying, you should contact the EDD to see if you qualify for a Federal extension. What do I need to do to qualify or get an extension if I have not found a job or the season has not started and I have exhausted my UI benefits? If you exhaust your unemployment benefit money but cannot open a new claim because a year has not passed since the initial claim, the EDD will automatically file for an extension on your behalf as long as you are eligible and the Federal Government is offering them. As an agricultural worker you may have been out of work for quite some time, and your UI benefits may be close to expiration. If this is the case, you need to contact the EDD to inform them you will be back to work, as you may be exempt from having your claim expire. If I am working part-time in another state, but also have wages from California, can I file a claim from outside of California? Yes. You may call in from any state to open or re-open an unemployment claim. Your claim may be based on wages earned from both states. What happens if at one point I was working without the proper legal documents, but since then I have become a legal resident. Can I collect unemployment benefits? You must be in this country legally to be Continued on next page

Disability Insurance: Do you qualify?


he State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides partial wage replacement to eligible workers who are unable to work because of a disability, illness or pregnancy. The program is run by the state of California, and is funded through employee payroll deductions. Workers who seek coverage due to a disability, illness or pregnancy are protected by two programs: Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). The Employment Development Department (EDD) administers both of these programs. The following are the Employment Development Department’s most frequently asked questions, with answers, about Disability Insurance: What is the process to apply for Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave? To file a claim, you can call the EDD Disability Insurance customer service line and request a form, (Disability Insurance Form, 2501). You can also apply online, or walk into any local EDD office to get an application. You can process an application (claim) online by visiting http://www. htm or you can call an SDI program representative at 1-800-480-3287 (English) or 1-866-6588846 (Spanish). You need to mail your claim form within 49 days from the first day you were dis-

Unemployment Insurance Continued from previous page eligible for unemployment benefits. The EDD will only include the earnings you had earned when you had a legal right to work in the U.S. What should I do if I have filed for unemployment, but I have not been paid benefits because my claim is under identity investigation because I could not verify the majority of information in my claim when I filed for unemployment? When this happens, the EDD will send you a letter telling you what documents need to be submitted to the Identity Verification office to validate your claim. Once you have submitted all information, you should hear from the Identity Verification office within 10 days. If I had been interviewed by the EDD over the phone to check eligibility for UI benefits because I was fired or laid off, and after the interview find out I had been

abled. If your claim is late, you may lose benefits. How much money will I receive from my Disability Insurance claim? The amount of money collected will be approximately 55% of your total earnings. Normal weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,011. State Disability benefits are calculated using the wages you were paid approximately 5 to 18 months before your SDI claim begins. You may receive up to 52 weeks, or one year, of payments. Can a doctor outside of the U.S. certify my disability claim? disqualified/denied for benefits, what can I do if I feel the decision was not fair? When a person is denied benefits, the EDD will send them a letter telling them the reason they cannot collect unemployment benefits. The letter will include instructions on how to file an appeal. Once you receive this letter, you have 20 days to submit an appeal letter to the EDD to explain your case. You will then receive a letter with an appointment hearing date when the EDD will reconsider your application. I’m thinking of going to school or enrolling in a training program. What do I need to do? What is the process? It is important you let the EDD know you are planning on attending school before you are paid benefits. If you are already attending school or enrolled in a training course, you will then receive an appointment in the mail from the EDD for a telephone interview. If you are eligible, you will not have to look for work as long as your school instructor signs your form verifying your attendance.

Yes, a doctor from another country is able to sign your disability form so you can collect your benefits. Although, the process will take a little longer because the out of country doctor’s license has to be approved by the EDD’s medical director’s office. Can I apply even if I do not have a legal right to work in the U.S. or a social security number? Yes, anyone working in California who pays into the California State Disability Insurance is potentially eligible for benefits. Your legal status does not affect your potential eligibility for benefits. Do I get paid for the waiting period week? No, anyone who files an initial claim for Disability benefits, needs to serve a non-payable 7 day waiting period. The only exception to this law is for those new mothers who are transitioning from their pregnancy related disability claim onto the Paid Family Leave claim. Continued on next page The Employment Development Department also offers service through the America’s Job Center of California. These centers are designed to help you when you are unemployed. America’s Job Centers throughout the state can provide you access to employment, education and training services as well as career guidance. Contact the EDD to find the closest Job Center to you or visit jobs_and_training/ When it comes to information or services about unemployment benefits, it is very important that you do not rely on advice from friends or relatives. If you do not understand something or need more information about benefits or programs that the department offers, call The Employment Development Department over the phone at 1-800-300-5616 (English) or 1-800326-8937 (Spanish), or online at http://www. The EDD representatives available from 8a.m. to 5p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays.

California’s Paid Family Leave Program


he California Paid Family Leave (PFL) Act allows individuals to take time off from work to care for their families without losing out on wages. The Paid Family Leave Program provides compensation for parents or spouses when they need to miss work due to: n Taking care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or registered domestic partner. n Bonding with a new child or the new child of a spouse. n Paid Family Leave is not the same as Disability Insurance. They are two different programs, and both need to be applied to, to qualify. The following are the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) most frequently asked questions, with answers, about Paid Family Leave benefits: What do I need to do to apply? Paid Family leave is a part of the Disability Insurance (DI) program and those covered by DI are also covered by PFL. You must first register for DI, and then you may file a claim for PFL. To file a claim online, visit the EDD’s website. You can also call 1-877-238-4373 (English) or 1-866-6588846 (Spanish) to order a form over the phone.

Disability Insurance Continued from previous page If I need to take time off for a disability, will the EDD protect my job? No. DI provides you income replacement while on leave - it does not guarantee job protection during your leave. It is important that you arrange the time off with your employer before applying for Disability Insurance. The EDD does not protect jobs; they only pay benefits to those who qualify for Disability Insurance. For help filing your claim or to have EDD answer any questions you have, you can call a representative at 1-800-480-3287 (English) or 1-866-658-8846 (Spanish). The EDD has Disability offices throughout the state to answer any questions, and to help you apply. To find an office, visit: . Representatives are available from 8a.m. to 5p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays.

How much money will I receive? It will depend on your earnings, but it will be approximately 55% of your earned wages, and weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,011. No more than six weeks of PFL benefits may be paid within any 12-month period. Can I care for a family member who lives outside of the U.S.? Yes. If you have a family member living outside of the United States who needs to be cared for, this qualifies under the Paid Family Leave Program. You may collect your benefits, and travel outside of the U.S. to care for your family member. In order for you to qualify, you must obtain a medical certificate from a health care provider to establish your family member’s serious health condition, and this health care provider must be licensed or certified in the country where your family member is receiving treatment. You also need to provide the EDD the dates you will be traveling outside of the U.S. I’m pregnant and wonder if I can file a claim for State Disability Insurance benefits? Yes. The usual period a woman can claim disability insurance for a NORMAL pregnancy is up to four weeks before the expected delivery date and up to six weeks after the actual delivery. However, your physician/practitioner may certify to a longer period if the delivery is by Cesarean section, if there are medical complications, or if you are unable to perform your regular or customary job duties.

As a new mother, can I file for PFL bonding benefits before I file for Disability pregnancy benefits? No. You must file for Disability benefits first, and then once you are released by your doctor, you may file for PFL benefits. Once you have an active Disability claim for maternity leave, you will automatically be sent the form to transition from DI to PFL for bonding with your new baby. You may also file the PFL claim form through SDI Online. Can I apply even if I don’t have a legal right to work in the U.S. or a social security number? Yes. Even if you are an undocumented immigrant, you are eligible for PFL. As long as you have been working in California and have had State Disability Wages (SDI) withheld from your paycheck, you can collect benefits. Everyone who meets the criteria is encouraged to apply for the program. You do not have to be a U.S. Citizen to be eligible. Do I get paid for the waiting period week? No. Anyone who files an initial claim for Paid Family Leave benefits, needs to serve a non-payable 7 day waiting period. New mothers transitioning from a Disability Insurance to PFL claim are not required to serve a 7-day waiting period before receiving PFL benefits. Does the EDD protect my job if I need to take time off to care for a family member? No. The EDD encourages you to arrange the time off with your employer before applying for Disability and Paid Family Leave benefits. The PFL provides you income replacement while on leave - it does not guarantee job protection during your leave. The EDD does not protect jobs; they only pay benefits to those who qualify. Your job may be protected by the California Family Rights Act or the Family Medical Leave Act, covered by the United States Department of Labor. The Family Medical Leave Act is administered by the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. Continued on next page

Agricultural Jobs available to U.S. workers under H-2A contract You may apply for these jobs by phone or in person at your nearest Employment Development Department (EDD) field office Active

CalJobs Number

Job Title

Pay Rates

Contract Dates


City of Job

Employer’s County (for ECMS)

EDD Workforce Service Site Office



Field Crop Workers


3/12/14 - 11/8/14




Redding WS (530) 225-2185



Farm Workers, Strawberries


3/10/14 - 6/30/14




W. Oxnard JCC (805) 382-8610



Farm Workers, Apples and Wine Grapes


3/3/14 - 11/15/14




Santa Rosa (707) 565-5550



Farm Workers, Strawberries & Chile Peppers


3/1/14 - 6/30/14



Santa Barbara

Santa Maria WS (805) 614-1550



Farm Workers, Lemos and Avocados


2/15/14 - 9/30/14




Salinas WS (831) 796-3600



Farm Workers, Sheepherder

$1422.52 Mo



California and Western States

California and Western States

Selected EDD WSB Offices

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. The H-2A employers must demonstrate that qualified U.S. workers are not available for the job and the employment of temporary foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. Preference in hiring will be given to qualified U.S. workers before employers are allowed to bring in foreign workers under the program.

California’s Paid Family Leave Program Continued from prevvious page

Their contact number is 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) in English and Spanish. The California Family Rights Act contact information is 1-800-884-1684 for English and Spanish. My employer told me I qualify for 12 weeks of benefits, why did I only get paid for 6 weeks? If you have been told by your employer that you qualify for 12 weeks of benefits, your employer is referring to 12 non-payable weeks under the Federal Family Leave Act, which allows you to take time off to care for your loved one, but you will not collect monetary benefits. This is not the same as Paid Family Leave. PFL can only pay up to 6 weeks of benefits to a qualified individual.

Do I have to be married to my partner to care for them? Yes, the requirement for care on married couples is that they must be legally married. Domestic partnerships are allowed for same gender couples who are registered with the state of California as domestic partners. Different gender couples, where one is at least 62 years of age or older and are registered as domestic partners with the state of California, also quality. Please visit: for more information on eligibility and how to apply. Paid Family Leave Representatives can be reached at 1-877238-4373 with options for English or Spanish. The representatives are available from 8a.m to 5p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays.

Voice of the Fields California Circulation: 45,000 copies Published monthly by: La Cooperativa Campesina de California 1107 9th Street, Suite 420, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone 916.388.2220 Fax 916.388.2425 Produced with the support of the Employment Development Department Voice of the Fields may be reproduced

Voice january 2014  
Voice january 2014