Keeping up with paid state leave can be challenging and confusing – this article will help you understand what paid family and medical leave is and what states currently have paid family and medical leave laws. It’s important to note that any information contained in this article should not be considered legal advice, and it is important for every organization to have their own legal counsel review and interpret the paid family and medical leave laws that their organization is subject to.

What is family and medical leave?

Family and medical leave (a.k.a. FMLA, for the initial Family and Medical Leave Act that was passed by the federal government in 1993) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave with the continuation of group health insurance coverage for specified family and medical reasons (in a 12-month period).

What is paid family and medical leave?

Unlike FMLA, which is unpaid and a federal regulation that applies to all states, paid family and medical leave provides employees with compensation when they have to go on leave and, currently, only certain states have passed paid family and medical leave laws. 

It’s important to note – with the passing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, certain organizations must provide paid family and medical leave to employees who are caring for family members or individuals who have contracted COVID-19. This is currently the only active paid family and medical leave regulation at the federal level.

How can organizations better manage tracking and compliance with paid family and medical leave regulations?

Organizations who leverage modern, cloud-based solutions for payroll, HR, and timekeeping can easily streamline leave tracking and support compliance with paid family and medical leave regulations through automatic compliance updates and user-friendly leave tracking tools. For example, Kronos provides a single solution to support more effective leave management as part of our unified human capital management (HCM) systems.

What paid family and medical leave laws apply in my location?

For more information on the specific paid family and medical leave laws at the state and district level, take a look at the list below. We’ve also included helpful links to the relevant state sites for more details.

California

Initial Effective Date: July 1, 2004

Employee Eligibility: Employees who have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions were withheld during base period.

Paid Leave Maximums: As of 2020, up to 8 weeks of paid family leave. Up to 52 weeks for an employee’s own disability leave.

Qualifying Reasons: To care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement (as of Jan. 1, 2021, this will also include a “qualifying exigency” related to the military duty of the employee’s family member).

Funded By: Employee-only payroll deduction of 1 percent of the employee’s first $118,371.

Official State Website

Connecticut

Initial Effective Date: January 1, 2021 (premiums) and January 1, 2022 (benefits)

Employee Eligibility: Employees must earn at least $2325 in the highest earning quarter within the base period (4 of the 5 most recently completed quarters). Earnings can be with one or multiple employers.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 12 weeks of paid leave, plus an additional 2 weeks if the employee experiences an incapacitating serious health condition that occurs during pregnancy.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to deal with a serious health condition, care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with a newborn, adopted, or fostered child, donate an organ or bone marrow, deal with a situation related to the military deployment of a family member, or handle situations related to family violence.

Funded By: Employee-only payroll deduction of 0.5% of each employee’s gross wages, until the employee earns above the Social Security wage base.

Official State Website

Massachusetts

Initial Effective Date: October 1, 2019 (premiums) and July 1, 2021 (benefits)

Employee Eligibility: Employees must have earned at least $5,100 in the previous 12 months.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 12 weeks for family leave, up to 26 weeks for caring for a covered service member, and up to 20 weeks for the employee's own disability leave.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to manage a personal serious injury or illness, care for a sick family member, bond with a newborn child, bond with a child after adoption or foster care placement, management family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces.

Funded By: Employee-only payroll deduction is 0.75 percent of an employee’s eligible wages with the option for employers to cover a portion or the entire premium.

Official State Website

New Jersey

Initial Effective Date: January 1, 2009

Employee Eligibility: Employee must have had at least 20 weeks of covered employment and earned at least $200 each week or have earned at least $10,000 during the base period.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 6 weeks of paid leave, increasing to 12 weeks on July 1, 2020 and up to 26 weeks for an employee’s own disability leave.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to manage a personal serious injury or illness, care for a sick family member, bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child, or handle situations related to family violence.

Funded By: Employees and employers contribute to the cost of the temporary disability program. The contribution rate for employers varies from 0.10 percent to 0.75 percent. For 2020, employers contribute between $35.30 and $264.75 on the first $35,300 earned by each employee during this calendar year. On January 1 of each year, the taxable wage cap changes.

Official State Website

New York

Initial Effective Date: January 1, 2018

Employee Eligibility: Full-time employees who work a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees who work a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive. Employees with irregular schedules should look at their average schedule to determine if they work, on average, fewer than 20 hours per week.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 10 weeks of paid family leave, increasing to 12 weeks in 2021 and up to 26 weeks for an employee's own disability leave.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to deal with a serious health condition, care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with a newborn, adopted, or fostered child, or deal with a situation related to the military deployment of a family member.

Funded By: For 2020, an employee-only payroll deduction of 0.270 percent of an EE’s gross wages each pay period, up to a maximum contribution of $196.72 per year.

Official State Website

Oregon

Initial Effective Date: January 1, 2022 (premiums) and January 1, 2023 (benefits)

Employee Eligibility: Employees must have earned at least $1,000 in wages during the base year or alternative base year and paid into the PFML Insurance Fund.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 12 weeks of paid leave, plus an additional 2 weeks if an employee experiences an incapacitating serious health condition that occurs during pregnancy.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to manage a personal serious injury or illness, care for a sick family member, bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child, or handle situations related to family violence.

Funded By: Joint funding by employee (40 percent) and employer (60 percent) payroll deductions; total contribution rate will not exceed 1 percent of the employee’s first $132,900 of wages earned. The premium rate will be adjusted annually.

Official State Website

Rhode Island

Initial Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Employee Eligibility: Employees must have worked for the state for a total of 12 months within the past 7 years, have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of requested
leave, and work at a worksite that has at least 50 state employees within 75 miles as of the date the employee gives notice of the need for leave.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 4 weeks for family leave and up to 30 weeks for the employee's own disability leave. 

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to manage a personal serious injury or illness, care for a sick family member, or bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child.

Funded By: Employee-only payroll deduction of 1.1 percent of the employee’s first $71,000 of wages earned.

Official State Website

Washington

Initial Effective Date: January 1, 2019 (premiums) and January 1, 2021 (benefits)

Employee Eligibility: Employee must have worked for at least 820 hours in four out of the five quarters prior to their leave application.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 12 weeks of paid leave, plus an additional 2 weeks if the employee experiences an incapacitating serious health condition that occurs during pregnancy.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to manage a personal serious injury or illness, care for a sick family member, bond with a newborn child, bond with a child after adoption or foster care placement, or manage family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces.

Funded By: Joint funding by employee (63.333 percent) and employer (36.667 percent for employers with 50 or more employees) payroll deductions of 0.4 percent of the employee’s first $137,700 of wages earned.

Official State Website

Washington, DC

Initial Effective Date: July 1, 2020

Employee Eligibility: Employee must spend more than 50 percent of work time in DC for a covered employer or be based in DC and regularly spend a substantial amount of work time for the covered employer in DC and not more than 50 percent of work time for that covered employer in another jurisdiction, and must have been a covered employee for some or all of the 52 weeks preceding the covered event.

Paid Leave Maximums: Up to 8 weeks for parental leave, up to 6 weeks for family care, and up to 2 weeks for an employee's own serious health condition.

Qualifying Reasons: Employees can use paid family and medical leave to manage a personal serious injury or illness, care for a sick family member, or bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child.

Funded By: Employer-only deduction of 0.62 percent of employee wages.

Official District Website

Published: Thursday, June 11, 2020