If you’ve followed our regular National PF(M)L Landscape updates, you’re already aware that a growing number of states evaluate, enact, and implement their own statutory programs, while the nation continues its debate on a federal Paid Family (and Medical Leave) model. Based on the current line-up of states that either have or are about to implement Paid Family Leave, we estimate that almost ¼ of the U.S. will be covered by a state-mandated program in the coming years.
Current Paid Family Leave Programs In Effect
Currently, 8 jurisdictions (7 states and the District of Columbia) have a state-mandated Paid Family Leave program actively in place (see Expert Insight below):
While this article focuses on Paid Family Leave and the above list only includes states requiring this particular type of coverage, we do want to note that the concept of Family Leave as a benefit is rather new.
The most recently enacted state programs provide family leave as part of a more holistic benefit program that includes both the Family Leave portion (for example, to, bond with a new baby or care for a sick loved one) AND a self-care component that provides benefits if the covered employee is out of work due to a non-occupational sickness/injury. These programs are referred to as Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML).
Other states, who were pioneers in state-required benefits, started with statutory short-term disability: NY, NJ, RI, CA, HI. All but HI (which is therefore not included in the list above) added Paid Family Leave as a separate statutory benefit. So, while in essence these pioneers now provide the same forms of coverage as the more recent PFML states, this is accomplished through 2 separate programs in those states.
Reasons for leave, benefit amounts, and benefit durations etc. differ across states with statutory benefits – even down to the name of the state’s program(s).
Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs in Implementation Phase
These recently enacted programs are currently in the rulemaking stages of their implementation:
- Oregon delayed its planned program and will begin collecting contributions in January 2023 and start paying benefits in September 2023.
- A significant rulemaking effort for the new Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance program is ongoing this year, released periodically in 4 batches through June 2022. Currently in the second round of formal rulemaking, the recently released and updated Batch 4 Proposed Rules include several new requirements on equivalent plans, including requirements surrounding the application process that may make employer participation in an equivalent plan difficult. Public hearings are scheduled for the end of July, 2022.
- Colorado’s program is pending draft private plan rules. Approved as the ballot initiative Proposition 118 by Colorado voters in Nov. 2020, it was challenged by Chronos Builders (a Grand Junction-based construction company) in the Colorado Supreme Court citing a conflict with the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) earlier this year. In June, Proposition 118 was upheld as it was found to not violate TABOR. Colorado is proceeding with its PFML implementation.
- While New Hampshire enacted a Paid Family Leave program in 2021 for future implementation, it is not entirely a state-mandated program - rather it is only mandated for state employees and voluntary for the private sector. The State of New Hampshire recently announced the insurance carrier who was awarded the Request for Proposal (RFP) contract, and therefore will fully insure and administer the Granite State Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Plan for state employees, for private employers on a voluntary basis, for other public employers, and the individual group for a 5-year period.
Newly Enacted Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs:
Maryland and Delaware both enacted laws in 2022 for future implementation with benefits beginning in 2025 and 2026 respectively. We will keep you posted on updates on these states in future editions of our National PF(M)L Landscape. Be sure to sign up for updates here!
With that, the 2022 landscape for Paid Family (and Medical) Leave looks like this:
What’s Next for Paid Family Leave in the United States?
With public support growing on Paid Family (& Medical) Leave, a national program may still emerge, but it is still unclear as to when and in what form it may take.
There has been a great deal of activity on the state level in recent years, with bills getting introduced and not coming to fruition over the course of a legislative session. To cut through the clutter and prevent confusion, we do not include proposed bills and will continue to bring you up-to-date with any new state-required Paid Family & Medical Leave laws enacted. Sign up for updates here to stay in the loop on PF(M)L progress!
This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not an offer of coverage or intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any information is based on the applicable statutes and regulation, and may change as regulations evolve or States issue guidance regarding Disability Benefits Law and other state disability program regulations.
*The ShelterPoint family of companies operates under the “ShelterPoint” name strictly as a marketing name, and no legal significance is expressed or implied. The ShelterPoint family of companies consists of ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, a NY-domiciled carrier, and its wholly-owned subsidiary ShelterPoint Insurance Company, a FL-domiciled carrier, depending on the state. ShelterPoint is a registered service mark.