It’s a pretty big deal – New York State’s introduction of mandatory Paid Family Leave (PFL) coverage has made a mark on U.S. history and the state is now one of five in the country, plus the District of Columbia, to move ahead with these workers’ rights. Ironically, the United States – with all that it has to offer by way of everyday comforts – is in last place among developed nations (and near last among many less-developed countries) when it comes to paid leave on a national level.
Paid Family Leave will be added to the current Disability Benefits Law (DBL) and contributions will be employee paid, with benefits that provide wage replacement, job protection and health benefits protection when an employee is away from work for family-related leaves relating to:
- Bonding with the employee’s newborn or newly placed adoptive or foster child
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Preparation for a family member’s imminent call to active military deployment
This legislation is attracting a lot of attention from employers, and rightly so. There are several scenarios in which an employee can take advantage of PFL along with other disability benefits and Family Medical Leave (FML). It’s enough to make your head spin – and the clock is ticking. PFL goes into effect January 1, 2018 and will gradually increase to full benefits by 2021, so employers need to get on the ball.
We’re seeing many employers opt to outsource their leave programs to a carrier specializing in absence management support – a no-brainer when compared to dealing with administrative complexity, cost of overpaid benefits or penalties for errors and, not to mention, potential employee morale issues. Bundling PFL and FML with disability plans ensures that all claims are adjudicated consistently and fairly. It also provides enhanced clinical expertise and streamlined claim administration that often generates improved disability outcomes, while ensuring compliance with both state and federal laws. Due to the complex nature of this integration, many insurance carriers require an eligibility file and a minimum number of covered employees.
The last thing beleaguered HR professionals need is more headaches.