Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and it reminds us of the importance of family in our lives. It’s a time to show appreciation and love for our mothers and recognize their hard work and sacrifices. But for working mothers, balancing work and family can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to taking time off to care for a newborn, an ill family member, or a personal health issue.
This is where the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and paid family leave can be of immense help. The federal law applies to both public & private employers with 50+ employees. Familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of this law and its coverage will help you steer clear of costly compliance problems.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you as an employer need to know about paid family leave. Need more help? Our HR experts at Vested HR are here to keep your business compliant when you partner with us.
What Employers Need to Know about FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)
FMLA is a federal law that requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons.
The federal law covers both public and private employers with 50 or more employees and applies to employees who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours during that time.
New Law in Action: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a new federal law that requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant workers.
Employers will need to comply with this
new legislation beginning June 27, 2023.
The PWFA applies to employers with 15 or more employees and provides protections to pregnant workers similar to those afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What Needs Do FMLA Laws Cover?
FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of leave with benefits for the following reasons:
- A child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement
- Caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a critical health condition
- The employee’s own serious health condition
- Additionally, the FMLA entitles qualified workers to up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a covered service member who is suffering from a serious illness or injury.
What Rights Does FMLA Provide?
FMLA provides several important rights to eligible employees, including:
Job protection: Employees are entitled to return to their same or an equivalent position after their FMLA leave ends.
Health insurance: Employers must maintain the employee’s health insurance during their FMLA leave.
Accrual of benefits: Employees continue to accrue seniority, benefits, and vacation time while on FMLA leave.
Protection against discrimination or retaliation: Employers will not be able to take punitive measures such as termination or discipline against an employee who uses their FMLA rights.
When Can Employees Take Their Leave?
Employees are eligible if they’ve worked for a covered business for 12 months, completed at least 1,250 hours of work in the prior 12 months, and sought leave within one year of adopting, giving birth, or having a child placed for foster care.
Who Pays for Paid Family and Medical Leave?
Paid family and medical leave programs are typically funded through payroll taxes paid by both employers and employees. The exact funding mechanism and benefit amounts vary by state.
Which States Provide Paid Family and Medical Leave?
Currently, only a handful of states have implemented paid family and medical leave programs. These states include:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
Each state has its own eligibility criteria, benefit amounts, and funding mechanisms. In places like New Hampshire and Vermont, employees are not legally guaranteed to receive paid leave, but instead paid leave is a voluntary insurance coverage option.
As you can likely see, it’s necessary to keep in mind that your state may have different requirements and benefits than those discussed here. Our HR pros at Vested HR are happy to help you navigate the regulations and benefits in your state.
Stay Compliant with Vested HR
Navigating FMLA and paid family leave can be a complex and time-consuming process. At Vested HR, we understand the importance of work-life balance and can help your organization develop policies and procedures that comply with federal and state laws while meeting the unique needs of your workforce.
We are in(Vested) in your team! Contact us today to learn more about how you can benefit from partnering with our HR experts.