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Mandatory state paid family leave continues to make news in the state legislatures. While the topic remains contentious, more states are seeing their bills receive favorable treatment. Here is an update on some of the latest in Paid Family Leave, both positive and negative:

• Maine House Bill 1091

o Maine’s law would have implemented a paid family leave program administered by the state to pay up to 66% of the employee’s wages, effective October 1, 2019. An amendment to the bill struck the main content, and instead directed the University of Maine System to conduct a study to examine the costs and benefits of implementing a paid family leave program.
o The Governor vetoed the bill on April 27.

• Hawaii Senate Bill 2990

o Similar to the Maine bill, this directs the state’s legislative reference bureau to conduct an analysis to assist the legislature to determine a framework to establish a paid family leave program by September 2019.
o The bill passed in both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature.

• Vermont House Bill 196

o On May 11, Vermont’s Paid Family Leave law was approved by its legislature, and now awaits the Governor’s signature. The law creates a state-administered paid family leave program, funded through a Parental and Family Leave Insurance Special Fund. The Fund would consist of contributions of 0.141% of an employee’s wages.
o While on leave, an employee would receive 80% of their average weekly wage or an amount equal to a 40-hour workweek paid at a rate double that of the livable wage. An employee can receive a maximum of six weeks of Parental (bonding with a new child or grandchild, if the employee is the primary caregiver or guardian) and Family Leave (for the serious illness of a family member) benefits in a 12-month period, or both.
o The law directs that contributions would begin on July 1, 2018, with benefits to begin on October 1, 2019.
o The Governor of Vermont has been critical of the bill; a veto would likely kill the bill. It is also expected that the Vermont House will not have enough votes to override the veto.

• Washington State

o Washington State’s Paid Family Leave law was passed in July 2017; deductions pursuant to the new law begin January 1, 2019, while benefits begin January 1, 2020. We updated you recently about the rulemaking process, specifically that a draft of Phase 1 rulemaking had been issued. A public hearing on Phase 1 rulemaking is scheduled for May 23.
o Phase 2 rulemaking, related to employer responsibilities, penalties, and small business assistance, has now been released. A timeline of Phase 2 has been issued as well. Key for employers, the Phase 2 rules provide details on an employer’s notice and reporting obligations.

• Washington D.C.

o The D.C. Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 provides paid family and medical leave benefits for employees beginning on July 1, 2020. Benefits are funded by a 0.62% employer payroll tax that the city will collect from employees starting July 1, 2019.
o The comment period for the proposed regulations closed on May 7.
o The D.C. Department of Employment Services has released its Quarter 2 Report, providing a preliminary update on the work completed to date and underway to implement the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.

Stay up to date on the latest in Paid Family Leave, and learn how ReedGroup can provide compliant solutions for your workplace! Contact ReedGroup today.

Lori Welty

Lori Welty

Lori Welty, Esq. is a Compliance Attorney at ReedGroup. Ms. Welty provides expertise in all areas of state and federal leave law, including Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and their state law equivalents as well as disability and family leave benefits. Ms. Welty is an ongoing author of ReedGroup’s LeaveAdvisor online reference tool, as well as many other white papers and articles.

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