UCLA’s decreased disability insurance disadvantages new parents

Decreased Disability Insurance

The University of California (UC) recently decreased its disability insurance benefits, which could negatively affect parents who use disability insurance as a form of parental leave.
In 2017, the UC’s disability insurance only covers 60 percent of an employee’s income for six weeks, compared to 70 percent in 2016. The decrease in benefits could mean that expectant mothers might have less paid time off to recover after childbirth and take care of their child.

Some University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) employees have voiced their concerns over the University’s disability insurance benefits. Emily Taylor, an expecting mother and Director of the Master of Business Administration Career Education and Communications at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, told the Daily Bruin that she was shocked the University did not offer maternity leave or a disability insurance policy comparable to that of other employers or universities, like the University of Southern California.

Additionally, most UC employees are unable to receive state benefits for parental leave. This is because the UC does not participate in the California State Disability Insurance program (SDI), which provides employees up to six weeks of paid leave per year. However, new UC employees can only receive SDI benefits within the first 18 months of their job.

Taylor also stated that UCLA does not offer sufficient resources for mothers. For instance, childcare for UCLA employees costs $2,000 per month. Some employees told the Daily Bruin that they took up side jobs or dipped into their savings to prevent going into debt while they took time off to care for their children. Others mentioned that using sick days for maternity leave would prevent them from using some of those days to care for their sick child.

According to a UC spokesperson, the UC disability leave cuts would allow more employees to qualify for benefits and keep disability insurance more affordable for all employees. However, in a time when more California companies are expanding and improving their paid family leave benefits, the UC is moving in the opposite direction.