Vermont

Vermont

Vermont is rolling out a new Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) program, available to private employers by July 2024.

Vermont

Vermont Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) 

What is the Update?

Vermont is implementing a new paid family and medical leave insurance (PFMLI) program. The program will be similar to New Hampshire’s Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan (GSPLP) in that the Vermont PFMLI will be automatically available to state employees at no cost. Private employers on the other hand won’t be automatically enrolled into the program, but can instead choose to opt-in to the program, should they wish. Further, the Vermont PFMLI program allows employees themselves to opt-into the program as individual participants (also like New Hampshire’s program). If employers or individual employees enroll into the program, employers will collect employee PFMLI premiums on behalf of the employee and remit them to the VT PFMLI plan. The specific premium rate is to be determined.

The state recently sent out a request for proposal (RFP), dated July 1, 2022. The RFP is seeking an insurance carrier to insure and administer the PFMLI benefits on behalf of the state. We will provide an update once the carrier is selected. It is estimated that the program will be available for state employees as early as July 2023. The effective date for the second phase of the program, in which private employers and individual employee participants will be able to enroll into the program, is to be determined, but will be no later than July 1, 2024.

Many of the key details concerning the program are to be determined. However, the benefits provided under the program are initially expected to be as follows:

– 6 weeks of leave benefits provided within in a 12-month period. The leave reasons will include, parental, medical, family care, and military exigency leave.

– An employee on leave is eligible to receive 60% of their regular weekly base pay. The maximum weekly benefit is based on the Social Security Taxable Wage Maximum(Social Security Taxable Wage Maximum/52 weeks x 60%). Using the current 2022 Social Security Taxable Wage Maximum $147,000, as an example, employees would be eligible to receive $1,696.15 per week if the program were live in 2022. There is expected to be a 1 week waiting period for medical claims. Family leave claims (e.g. parental, family care, exigency claims), however, will be payable from day one of the leave.

– PFMLI claims will be payable for intermittent and reduced schedule claims, provided that the combined total of earned wages and claim payments does not exceed 100% of an employee’s weekly pay.

-It is anticipated that employees will not be able to request to take PTO and claim PFMLI benefits at the same time. As the state puts it, “An employee will not receive both FMLI and paid time off if for the same hours.”

It is unclear if PFMLI will run concurrently with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the unpaid Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act (VPFLA), at this time. It is our expectation that these laws will run concurrently, but we will continue to monitor this topic as the state provides more guidance.

In the case of an employee receiving state benefits in another state while on medical leave, Short Term Disability (STD) is typically the “secondary insurance benefit” to state benefits, i.e. STD in most states will top-up any benefits an employee is receiving from the state. However, the VT PFMLI program appears to be different, based on the information currently available. Vermont describes the VT PFMLI program itself as the “secondary benefit” source. This would suggest that STD benefits will not be able to offset by VT state benefits. 

In general, we will continue to follow VT PFMLI as more information is released and keep our clients posted about this program.

Handbook/Policy Updates

We are not aware of any requirements at this stage. We will keep our clients posted as more information is released on the program.

Notice Requirements

We will keep our clients posted as more information is released on the program.

Larkin Action

We are continuing to monitor any updates.

Further Company Considerations

N/A

Resources

Below is a link to the RFP, which provides some tentative information on timelines and what the benefits will offer:

http://www.vermontbusinessregistry.com/bidAttachments/56122/State%20of%20Vermont%20FMLI%20RFP.pdf

 

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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.