As pressures mount for a national paid family and medical leave (PFML) program, since just 17 percent of private-industry employees had access to PFML last year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several states have enacted legislation to provide workers compensated time away, with varying levels of benefits. In the Northeast, here’s a summary of the programs in effect – and efforts underway.
- Connecticut: Legislation passed last month allows employees who work for private employers to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period to care for themselves or family members starting January 1, 2022. Reasons for leave include: caring for a newborn, newly adopted or foster child, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, the employee’s serious health condition, serving as an organ or bone marrow donor or an exigency related to a family member on active duty, or reasons related to family violence. Those who have pregnancy-related complications are eligible for an additional two weeks of paid leave. The benefits are funded by an employee contribution in the amount of .5 percent of their income beginning on January 1, 2021.
- Maine: In May, Governor Mills signed L.D. 360, which provides that, starting in January 2021, employers with 10 or more workers must provide paid time off, for any reason. Employees accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year, which they may use after 120 days of employment. Exempt employees include seasonal workers, commission-only employees, and others. The law takes effect January 1, 2021, but the Maine Department of Labor is still in the process of formulating the implementing regulations.
- Massachusetts: Starting in January 2021, the law provides for 26 weeks of benefits. Twelve weeks are allowed for the arrival of a new child, a close family member’s serious health condition, or a close family member’s deployment needs; 26 weeks can be used for military caregiver leave; and 20 weeks can be used for the worker’s own medical leave. Workers receive up to $850 a week, paid for by a payroll tax on employees and employers with at least 25 workers. Contributions through payroll withholdings begin October 1, 2019, with reporting starting January 31, 2020.
- New Hampshire: Despite passing the House and Senate, the Granite Caregiving Act, which would have established a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program funded by an employer tax, was vetoed by Governor Sununu on May 2019. It would have offered 12 weeks of leave at 60 percent of pay.
- New York: Employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks as a full-time employee or 175 days as a part-time one for a private employer may be eligible for paid leave to bond with a newly born, adopted or foster child, care for a close relative with a health condition, or assist when a family member is deployed on active military service. For 2019, the amount of leave allowed is 10 weeks at 55 percent of a worker’s average weekly wage, which rises to 12 weeks in 2021 at up to 67 percent of their weekly wage. The benefits are funded by a payroll deduction.
- Rhode Island: The Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program, part of the Rhode Island Temporary Disability (TDI) program, provides up to four weeks per year of partial wage replacement benefits (about 60 percent). The employee-funded program, paid for through payroll deductions, entitles workers to leave to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent or to bond with a newborn, child, or foster child.
- Vermont: While Vermont lawmakers advanced a paid family and medical leave bill, in May, Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoed the program. The bill would have provided for up to 12 weeks of leave for employees at 90 percent of their earnings to care for a new child or six weeks to care for an ill or injured loved one. The benefits would have been funded by a .2 percent payroll tax.
For more information about these requirements and what your business needs to do to comply, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332-9325.