Leave administrator working with client

New Hampshire

On June 28, 2021, Governor Sununu signed the Granite State Paid Family Leave Act into law.

Leave administrator working with client

Granite State Paid Family Leave Act 

What is the Update?

The Granite State is implementing a new paid family and medical leave program. The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is currently in the process of establishing rules including setting up the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) premium fund which will house contributions to the program. New Hampshire has targeted the program to begin January 1, 2023. Some facts we are aware of about the law are:

– The law is referred to as the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan (GSPLP).

– New Hampshire house bills, HB 1582 and HB 1165, which aimed to repeal GSPLP were ultimately unsuccessful, and the program will move ahead with a target live date of January 1, 2023.

– Following the state conducting a request for proposal (RFP), MetLife has been chosen as the insurance company to administer the GSPLP program on behalf of the state. 

– The law provides cost-free paid family leave benefits to New Hampshire government employees. All other employers may opt in on a voluntary basis if they have more than 50 employees and pay employer contributions to the program (the premium rate is to be determined). Those employers who do opt-into the program could receive a 50% tax credit on contributions they have made to the program.

– Employees whose employers choose not to opt in, may opt-into an individual employee insurance pool under the program and will pay a weekly contribution. Employers will be responsible for remitting employee contributions for those employees who do opt-into the program.

– The maximum duration of FMLI benefits will be six weeks per year. The law allows for the DAS to implement a one-week waiting or elimination period, and eligible employees will receive 60% of their average weekly wage. Regarding the average Weekly Wage (AWW) during FMLI leave – wages used to determine the AWW will be capped at the social security taxable wage maximum.

– Employees may take leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to bond with a new child, for qualifying military exigencies, and to care for a service member with a serious injury or illness.

– Leave for an employee’s own serious health condition is only available if the employee’s injury or illness is not work-related, the employee has opted into the program, and the employer does not have a short term disability program.

– New Hampshire originally stated that an employee taking leave under the GSPLP should be restored to the same or equivalent position. However, in recent regulations proposed by the state, the opposite is suggested, that time off is not job protected. This is something we will continue to monitor, and we will keep our clients informed on this topic.

In general, we are actively montoring updates on this law to keep our clients up to speed. We know that many of the key details still require clarification from the state (such as the exact contribution rate, the employer and employee opt in date and process etc). Note: We are not expecting many employers/employees to utilize this program, because most of our clients already provide pay for some or all of the leave types offered under the GSPLP. Further, it seems (based on current information) that the law will not provide pay for medical leaves if an employer already has a short term disability plan(see above), and we find that most employers already have an STD plan which provides pay during medical leaves.

Handbook/Policy Updates

More information to follow soon.  

Notice Requirements

More information to follow soon.  

Larkin Action

We will keep our clients informed of any new information, so they can consider whether they wish to participate in the program, for example.

Further Company Considerations 

N/A

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Disclaimer

The Larkin Company has taken reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind as to its accuracy or completeness. These resources should not be construed or substituted for legal advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information provided herein, we encourage you to seek competent legal advice from a licensed attorney or appropriate professionals.