Which States Have Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)?
While just 23% of private-industry employees had access to paid family leave last year, that number will continue to grow as more states enact legislation to provide workers compensated time away, with varying levels of benefits. Amid the increased legislative activity, it can be hard to keep up with your state’s requirements – now and in the coming months. Yet getting paid family and medical leave (PFML) right is essential to avoid costly consequences.
To help you understand the programs that are in place today or soon will be, here we’ll share the latest information on PFML laws throughout the country. After reading this, you’ll know if you need to comply with a PFML law in your state and the steps to take to ensure you meet the requirements.
Which States Offer PFML?
Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia have PFML laws in place.
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Keep in mind that, in the majority of these jurisdictions, you have the option to use a private plan as an alternative to the state program as long as the plan has benefits that meet or exceed the state’s.
California’s Paid Family Leave program provides benefit payments to those who need to take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member, bond with a new child, or participate in a qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment. Eligible employees can receive payments for up to 8 weeks, which are about 60-70% of their weekly wages earned 5 to 18 months before their claim start date. The benefits are funded by employees through State Disability Insurance contributions from their paychecks, which employers are required to collect and send to the Employment Development Department.
Colorado’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act is scheduled to begin January 1, 2024; premiums are due starting January 1, 2023. It will provide permanent, full-time employees up to 80 hours of paid leave (prorated for permanent part-time employees) per 12-month period for a qualifying reason under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Any employer with at least 1 employee in Colorado must provide PFML to its eligible employees. To fund the program, employers will need to deduct premiums in the form of a 0.9% payroll tax, which will be split 50/50 between the employer and employee, meaning each will pay 0.45%. Employers with fewer than 10 employees aren’t required to pay the employer share of the premiums. In addition to wage replacement, the Colorado program will also provide job protection during the leave if an employee has worked for at least 180 days before taking time off.
Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act offers workers the opportunity to take paid time off for life events covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The program covers all employers with 1 or more employees and is accessible to all employees who meet certain earned-wage thresholds, specifically, at least $2,325 in the highest-earning quarter of the first 4 of the 5 most recently completed quarters. Funding for the PFML program comes from employee payroll deductions; there is no employer match. Employers are responsible for withholding and submitting the payroll deductions to the CT Paid Leave Authority.
Under the Healthy Delaware Families Act, a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program funded through employers and employee contributions will begin paying out benefits in 2026. The program will cover up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave, 6 weeks of paid family caregiver leave, and 6 weeks of medical leave for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job duties in any 24-month period. It’s important to note that the law only applies to employers with 10 or more employees working in Delaware, and those with 10-24 employees must only comply with the law’s parental leave requirements. Contributions must be remitted starting in 2025. Employers can’t deduct more than half of the contribution from employee wages – and they can elect to pay the employee’s share. Like some other states listed here, the leave is also job protected.
District of Columbia
On July 1, 2020, D.C. began administering paid leave benefits for full-time and part-time employees who spend at least 50% of their work time in the District. The Universal Paid Leave Act originally provided up to 2 weeks for a pregnancy, 8 weeks to bond with a new child, 6 weeks to care for a family member, and 6 weeks to care for the employee’s own serious health condition. However, in March 2022, the benefits were extended to up to 12 weeks for parental leave, family leave, and medical leave effective October 1, 2022. The employer payroll tax used to fund this leave is being decreased from 0.62% to 0.26% as of July 1, 2022. Any employer paying D.C. unemployment insurance taxes for one or more employees is covered by the Program.
Maryland’s paid family and medical leave provides temporary paid leave to covered employees beginning January 1, 2025, to care for a child, care for a family member, attend to their own serious health condition, care for a service member, or attend to an individual’s qualifying exigency arising from deployment of a service member. Leave is available to employees who have worked at least 680 hours over the previous 12-month period. Beginning October 1, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees that employ at least 1 individual in Maryland and every employee (through payroll deductions) will be required to contribute to the Fund. The rates of contribution will be set by the state. Leave for which benefits are paid under the program will also be job protected.
In Massachusetts, the Paid Family and Medical Leave program provides for up to 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 can receive up to $1,084.31 a week in 2022, paid for by a payroll tax on employees and employers; if you have fewer than 25 workers, you don’t need to make the employer contribution but you’ll need to send the state the employer portion of the PFML contribution. The program also provides job protection provisions.
New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program provides workers with up to 12 consecutive weeks or 56 individual days in a 12-month period of paid leave to care for a family member with a physical or mental health condition, bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child, or handle certain matters related to domestic or sexual violence. For 2022, employees must have worked at least 20 weeks and grossed $240/week or earned $12,000 in the 5 completed quarters prior to the week their leave begins. Their benefits are 85% of their average weekly wage, up to the maximum of $993 for 2022. The program is funded 100% by employee payroll deductions.
New York State Paid Family Leave allows employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks as an employee working 20 or more hours or 175 days as a part-time one for a private employer to take paid leave to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist when a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is deployed on active military service. Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 67% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage. The benefits are fully funded by employees through a payroll deduction. In addition, when employees come back from leave, they are entitled to return to the same or comparable job.
Starting September 3, 2023, the Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave program will provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member, and up to 2 additional weeks for pregnancy, childbirth, or related circumstances. In some cases, up to 18 weeks may be taken in a benefit year, though 4 of those may be unpaid. Employees who earned $1,000 or more in the year prior to claiming benefits will be eligible. The amount of the benefit payment will depend on an employee’s average weekly wage and can be up to 100%. The PFML program will be funded through a payroll contribution with employees contributing 60% and employers 40%; employers have the option to pay some or all of their employees’ portion. Contributions are expected to begin January 1, 2023. Employers must also return workers to the same or similar job when they come back from leave.
The Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program, part of the Rhode Island Temporary Disability (TDI) program, provides up to 5 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. Eligible employees are those that earned at least $14,700 in their base period, defined as the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters before making a claim. The program is 100% funded by employee payroll deductions. In addition to wage replacement, employees must be returned to the same or comparable position when they return from leave.
Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave allows employees to take paid time off for an employee’s own serious health condition or when they need time to care for a family member, bond with a new child, or spend time with a family member preparing for military service overseas. It’s available to employees who have worked a minimum of 820 hours in the last 4 completed calendar quarters immediately before requesting leave. In general, employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks, but may qualify for up to 16 weeks if they have more than 1 qualifying event and up to 18 weeks if they experience a condition in pregnancy or birth that results in incapacity. The program is funded through premiums paid by both employees and employers; however, small businesses that average less than 50 employees aren’t required to pay the employer portion. In addition, small businesses aren’t required to provide job-protected leave. On the other hand, those with more than 50 people must provide job restoration to employees who have worked for at least 1 year and 1,250 hours unless they’re within the highest paid 10% of salaried employees or you can show their job wouldn’t have existed when they returned.
How to Best Comply with State PFML Laws
As you can see, there is a lot of legislative activity surrounding paid leave at the state level. And keeping up with the changing rules and requirements associated with PFML can be challenging. Add to that, there are also often other leave programs that come into play when employees need time off like FMLA and even short-term disability insurance. Read our next article to find out the difference between PMFL, FMLA, and STD.
If you don’t have the time or expertise in house to stay on top of what you need to know to stay compliant with applicable employment laws, you may be thinking about getting some help from an HR partner. If you’re considering outsourced HR support, read our next article on the top factors to weigh as you evaluate partners.