Updates and Reminders
District of Columbia: Reminder
Massachusetts: Update & Reminder
The Connecticut General Assembly has passed what appears to be the most generous paid family leave bill in the country to date. The bill will provide compensation for employees on leave, expands coverage to employers with as few as one employee, and will cover employees who have worked for their employer for as few as 12 weeks with no minimum-hours requirement. The bill provides employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period to care for themselves, family members (including a spouse, parents, in-laws, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren) and anyone else whose close association is the equivalent of a family member. The bill expands the list of family members for whom employees may use up to two weeks of any employer-provided paid sick leave. Employees incapacitated by pregnancy are eligible for an additional two weeks of paid leave, for a maximum of 14 weeks.
The program will be funded entirely by employees (the contribution rate will be 0.5% and will be tied to the amount of annual earnings subject to Social Security taxes, currently $132,900) with contributions beginning January 1, 2021. The benefit will be determined on a sliding scale with lower-paid workers receiving the maximum benefit of up to 95% of their regular weekly pay, to be capped at a sum not to exceed 60 times the minimum wage. Benefits are slated to begin January 1, 2022, though parental bonding leave benefits may be paid sooner if administratively feasible.
Governor Lamont has publicly supported paid family leave and he is expected to sign the bill shortly.
District of Columbia
The first collection of DC Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act (“DC Paid Family Leave Law”) employer contributions begins July 1, 2019, for wages paid to covered workers from April 1 through June 30. Private-sector employers in the District will pay a .62% tax to fund the paid-leave benefit which is 100% employer funded. Contributions will be collected electronically from the Department of Employment Services (DOES) and Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) on a quarterly basis. The notice that employers are required to post are currently being developed and employers will be responsible for posting the notice beginning January 1, 2020.
Maine became the first state to require that private employers provide earned paid leave (not just sick leave) to employees when Governor Janet Mills signed L.D. 369 on May 28, 2019. The bill requires private employers that employ 10 or more employees for more than 120 days in a calendar year to provide an hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Eligible employees can use the paid leave for any reason. The law will take effect on January 1, 2021.
Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature have agreed to delay the start of required contributions to fund the Paid Family and Medical Leave program by three months. The required withholdings, originally set to begin on July 1, 2019, will now begin on October 1, 2019. Additionally, to avoid causing a loss of expected funds because of the delay, the payroll tax contribution rate will increase from 0.63% to 0.75%. Employers that offer paid leave benefits that are at least as generous as those required under the PFML law can be excused from the obligation to remit contributions by applying for an exemption up until December 20, 2019.
As a reminder, Massachusetts employers must provide individual written notice (may be provided electronically and must be in the employee’s primary language) to their current (employees) and (contract workers). Employers now have until September 30, 2019, to notify all covered individuals of their rights and obligations under PFML. Thereafter, employers will need to provide notice to newly hired employees within 30 days of the first date of employment – our recommendation is to include the notice in the new-hire onboarding packet. These notices must include the opportunity for an employee to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the information. Employers will need to retain the signed acknowledgement-of-receipt forms. Required workplace posters are updated with the new effective dates and any needed translation can be obtained from the Mass.gov website.
Similar to L.D. 369 in Maine, Nevada Senate Bill No. 312 will require that Nevada private-sector employers provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave per benefit year (defined as a 365-day period). Most employers with 50 or more employees must provide paid leave to their employees in proportion to the number of hours worked. The paid leave may be used for any reason. The bill has yet to be signed; however, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has announced his intent to sign the bill which will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Reporting and payments for quarters one and two should be submitted between July 1 and July 31, 2019. For more information, please refer to the Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave website reporting page: https://www.paidleave.wa.gov/reporting.
The Larkin Company
2350 Mission College Blvd Ste 390
Santa Clara, CA 95054
The Larkin Company is an administrator of self-insured disability plans (including self-insured California SDI plans) and leave of absence programs for employers. Please call or email us or visit www.thelarkincompany.com for more information about our services.