November 1, 2023

State and Local Updates

California

Employment Development Department (EDD)

The EDD has provided a partial update for 2024 for the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, which includes Paid Family Leave (PFL).

  • Contribution rate: 1.1% (increased from 0.9%)
  • Voluntary Plan Assessment Rate of Taxable Wages: 0.154% (increased from 0.126%).

As a reminder, as of January 1, 2024, SB 951 removes the taxable wage ceiling which means employees will contribute to the program throughout the year. For employers with Voluntary Plans, you are able to retain a wage ceiling.

The State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) for 2024 has yet to be released. The SAWW is used to determine the maximum weekly benefit amount for 2024 (currently forecasted to increase to $1,698). We will send an update once this information is available.

California permits employers to opt out of SDI and establish a private plan for Voluntary Disability and Paid Family Leave Insurance (known as a “Voluntary Plan”), provided certain requirements are met. Among these requirements are that the Voluntary Plan’s cost to employees be no more than the cost for SDI, and that benefits paid by the plan are at least equal to what the EDD would pay.

If you think a Voluntary Plan would be a good option for your company and employees, or would like to find out more information, please reach out to your Account Manager.

District of Columbia

The updated Notice to Employees poster is now available – you can download here. As a reminder, all DC employers must post the updated notice by February 1, 2024.

New York City

Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA)

Effective as of October 15, 2023, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has issued a final rule on the city’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA), providing clarification on topics such as required notice, supporting documentation, pay requirements, and written policy requirements. The ESSTA requires employers to provide up to 56 hours of paid safe and sick team per year – or 40 hours, for employers with less than 100 employees. Headcount can be determined by the highest headcount at any point in a calendar year nationwide, and includes full-time, part-time, and joint workers.

The final rule has clarified that the ESSTA should apply to employees who meet at least one of the following criteria: Physically working in New York City (even if working remotely); and, regularly performing, or is expected to regularly perform, work in New York City during the calendar year (even if primarily working outside of New York City). In regard to documentation, licensed clinical social workers and licensed mental health counselors were added among the acceptable healthcare professionals to provide supporting documentation. Employers also now cannot require details other than the dates an employee will use safe time leave and must reimburse all reasonable costs or expenses incurred if an employee is requested or required to provide supporting documentation and incurs said expenses.

Lastly, the final rule requires an addition to an employer’s policy. Here is the following statement regarding confidentiality, provided by the rule:

The employer will not ask the employee to provide details about the medical condition that led the employee to use sick time or the personal situation that led the employee to use safe time, and that any information the employer receives about the employee’s use of safe/sick time will be kept confidential and not disclosed to anyone without the employee’s written permission or as required by law.”

Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)

The WCB will be releasing an updated version of Form DB-450 (Notice and Proof of Claim for Disability Benefits) as well as a new Form DB-DEN (Notice of Denial of Claim for Disability Benefits. The forms will be available for use starting January 1, 2024. We will share the forms once they are available. In the meantime, the current Form DB-450 should be used through the end of the year.

Washington

The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) has announced the total contribution premium rate for the PFML program in 2024, which has decreased from 0.8% to 0.74% effective January 1, 2024. Employers must contribute 28.57% of the total premium and employees must contribute the remaining 71.43%, up to the Social Security Wage Base of $168,600. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer premium but must still collect the employee premiums. Be sure to start collecting the new premium rate when the new year begins.

As a reminder, WA Cares (long-term care insurance program) premium reporting started on October 1, 2023. Washington has made a couple of small changes to employer reporting, where now WA Cares and WA PFML premiums can be completed at the same time, on the same report. Additionally, employers must now also provide employees’ date of birth alongside the other required employee information. If needed, you can find more information here.

Finally, the ESD has released the 2024 mandatory workplace poster in English and Spanish. The (optional) paycheck insert in English and Spanish has also been released and the employer toolkit has also been updated.

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