State-by-State Paid Family & Medical Leave Legislation

DMEC Staff@Work

State-by-State Paid Family and Medical Leave Legislation: An Employer’s Guide

State Paid Family Leave LawsBy Kristin Hostetter, CPDM

Sr. Product Manager, Absence Management
Lincoln Financial Group

By Marissa Mayfield, MBA

Sr. Product Manager, Statutory Disability & PFL
Lincoln Financial Group

By Patricia Zuniga, JD, LLM

Compliance Consultant
Lincoln Financial Group

Paid family and medical leave (PFML) is being legislated at all levels of government. To understand how to comply with these laws, we will review the types of mandated paid leave and look at ways to dissect various laws, including taking a deep dive into Washington state’s PFML that begins paying benefits in 2020.

Understanding State-Mandated Paid Leave

States generally have three main types of mandated paid leave: paid family leave (PFL), paid medical leave (PML), and paid sick leave (PSL). State programs may provide for one or more of these program types. Both PFL and PML typically provide wage replacement and job protection. Leave reasons include bonding, caring for a family member, a qualified military exigency in some cases and, in the case of PML, an employee’s own serious health condition. These mandated leaves may overlap with corporate paid leave programs, requiring close coordination.

PSL laws commonly require employers to either provide paid sick leave to employees who previously did not have any or mandate how employees must be allowed to use employer-sponsored paid sick leave.

Why Is Paid Family and Medical Leave a Hot Topic Right Now?

Several factors are driving more states to consider and adopt PFL/PFML laws. To start, the workforce is changing. Older employees are delaying retirement, and Millennials have become the largest generation in the workforce.1,2 As a result, employers must meet a wide range of needs across multiple generations holding different expectations for benefits, time off, and compensation.

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