Last Updated: 02/08/2024
Vermont Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI)
What is the Update?
Vermont is implementing a new paid family and medical leave insurance (FMLI) program. The program will be similar to New Hampshire’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program (NH PFML) in that the Vermont FMLI 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 as of February 15, 2024. Further, the Vermont FMLI program allows employees themselves to opt-into the program, as individual participants (also like New Hampshire’s program) by July 1, 2025. If employers or individual employees enroll into the program, employers will collect employee FMLI premiums on behalf of the employee and remit them to the VT FMLI plan. The specific premium rate is to be determined.
The VT FMLI program and its benefits will be administered by a third-party insurance company, The Hartford. Many of the key details concerning the program are to be determined. However, the benefits provided under the program are expected to be as follows:
- FMLI will run concurrently with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the unpaid Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act (VPFLA).
- Employers are able to decide to offer either Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) or standalone Family Leave Insurance (FLI).
- Customizable leave duration from 6-26 weeks of leave benefits provided within in a 12-month period, depending on the employer-provided plan. The leave reasons will include, parental, medical (including pregnancy disability), family care, military exigency leave, and care for an injured servicemember.
- As of July 1, 2023, the program became available for state employees; by July 1, 2024, the program will be available for private and non-state public employers on a voluntary basis, though employers have the option to choose the effective date that meets their needs that aligns with their overall benefit programs; and by July 1, 2025, the program will be available to small employers, and eligible, individual employees.
- An employee on leave is eligible to receive 60-70% of their regular weekly base pay. The benefit amount would be no less than $1,945.38 (based on the 2024 Social Security Taxable Wage Base), and no more than $2,500 per week. Larger benefit amounts are available, as well as the waiting period duration depending on the employer plan. Employers are able to choose between variations for the benefit waiting period, such as a short period of time, 7 calendar days, or at the beginning of a leave that is unpaid. However, for employer plans that are 100% funded by employee contributions, a waiting period will be required.
- FMLI 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. Intermittent durations are up to the employer-provided plan, and can be full day, hour increments, or even down to the minute.
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 FMLI program is intended to integrate with existing employee benefits such as salary continuation, STD, LTD, and PTO, and can be used to “top up” and/or wrap around other benefits such as these.
If you are a Larkin Company client, and you do choose to enroll in the VT FMLI program, now or in the future, please let us know as soon as possible, so we can administer your leaves accordingly. If you have individual employees who opt into the program on or after July 1, 2025, please also inform Larkin.
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