How Business Might Change Under Trump: Maternity Leave

trump maternity leave

Image credit: Diego Cambiaso via flickr

Note: There are many unknowns for employers as Donald Trump takes office in two months. While many policy specifics are not crystal clear, we do know that a Trump presidency will be significantly different than our last eight years under President Obama. This is the first in a series of posts we will be writing that are aimed at letting you know what this regime change might mean to you as an employer.

One of the most developed policy announcement of the Trump presidential campaign came midway through the summer and was presented by his daughter Ivanka. Within Trump’s childcare reform plan was a program for ensuring paid maternity leave for all mothers in the United States. Here is how it would work conceptually:

The proposed Trump maternity leave plan would offer mothers six weeks of partial pay while they are out on leave. This maternity pay applies to women that work at companies that don’t already pay for maternity leaves and would be handled through unemployment insurance, which according to Trump represents 1.4 million women annually.

It should be noted that Trump’s maternity leave proposal, as we understand it, does not include any additional leave benefits for men or parents that adopt and there are conflicting views on whether it covers unwed mothers.

It is also worth noting that some have called the funding source of this initiative into question. Trump’s program calls for paying this new entitlement, which he estimates at $2.5 billion annually, through savings the Federal Government will realize by cleaning up unemployment fraud. Trump pegs “improper payments” of unemployment insurance at $5.6 billion, which covers the maternity leave program and then some, if his estimate is accurate.

It is unclear if this plan will garner enough support from Congress to be enacted, and frankly, it is unclear if Trump would send it to Congress as proposed. We will be monitoring this as the transition proceeds and will provide updates here if anything materializes.

You can read the entire Trump Childcare Reform position paper here.

11 Interesting FMLA Statistics and Facts (May 2016)

FMLA statisticsThough it has only been around for little more than two decades, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has made a very serious impact in the way employers view and administer absence management. The guidelines in which most employers have to operate within under the FMLA can be challenging, at times, as is compliance documentation, but all in all, employers do recognize that the law is an important one that does have a positive impact on the workforce.

So how much impact has the FMLA had over the years? Here are some helpful FMLA statistics and facts that we have been able to uncover during the course of our consulting work. We will try to update this post fairly regularly. All stats and facts are linked to their original source, where appropriate and source dates are included.

FMLA Statistics

Date FMLA was signed into law:

February 5, 1993


Number of times the FMLA has been used since enactment:

More than 100 million times

Last checked 5/20/16


Percentage of US private sector employees that have access to paid family leave:

12%

Last checked 5/20/16


Average percentage of the US workforce that is on FMLA leave at any point in time:

10.7%

Last checked 5/20/16


Average duration of an FMLA leave:

14.2 days

Last checked 5/20/16


Top reason for FMLA leaves:

Employee’s own health conditions

Last checked 5/20/16


Top medical condition employees take FMLA leave for:

Surgery

Last checked 5/20/16


Percentage of total FMLA leaves in the US that are due to pregnancy:

17%

Last checked 5/20/16


Top FMLA enforcement complaint to the US Department of Labor in 2015:

Termination


Number of FMLA enforcement complaints in 2015:

1,419


Percentage of employers that report complying with the FMLA has had a positive or no noticeable effect on employee absenteeism, turnover and morale:

91%

Source date: 2013


Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide: The Employer Impact

supreme court same sex marriage fmla

As you are likely aware, a short time ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere across the United States. Prior to the ruling, 36 states and Washington D.C. allowed same-sex marriages. Now, the 14 states that have bans will be forced to lift them.

You can read the full Obergefell v. Hodges decision here.

This ruling is game-changing on a number of different levels socially and politically, but we’d like to point out that many employers will be impacted by this decision as well and should be prepared.

The most notable change will be evaluating your spousal eligibility in all areas of employee benefits. In addition, leave policies including but not limited to FMLA compliance will need to be reviewed. Dust off those policies and start re-reading them to pinpoint what changes need to be made.

Photo by tedeytan

Paid Sick Leave Compliance and Employer Best Practices

sick leave photo

Photo by umjanedoan

Across the United States, a legislative movement to mandate paid sick leave time for all employees has picked up significant momentum over the past couple of years. With a number of states, municipalities and even the President advocating for these new mandates, it is important that employers know how these changes impact them.

At a recent Disability Management Employer Coalition event, Spring partner Teri Weber gave the presentation below on paid sick leave laws with fellow industry experts Geoffrey Simpson from Presagia and Mike Soltis from jackson lewis.

We hope you find this slidedeck helpful and please don’t hesitate to reach out to contact us with any questions about paid sick leave laws or anything related to leave management.

Employer Alert: Important Change to FMLA Forms

paperwork photo

The Department of Labor (DOL) Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification forms originally expired in February and the DOL was very slow to respond…but it seems as I was eating my first hotdog of the season the DOL was making a minor but critical change to the FMLA certification forms.

The new forms, which will not expire until May 2018, now include the following language

Do not provide information about genetic tests, as defined in 29 C.F.R. § 1635.3(f), genetic services, as defined in 29 C.F.R. § 1635.3(e), or the manifestation of disease or disorder in the employee’s family members, 29 C.F.R. § 1635.3(b).

This new wording is related to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and is an important addition for most employers.

You can download the new forms here.

Don’t forget to update your printed forms and those on your websites!  Also, talk to your vendors to ensure they are up to date with regards to GINA and other important nondiscrimination regulations.

Of course, if you have any questions about FMLA, please feel free to contact Spring. You may also be interested in a helpful eGuide I recently authored about FMLA compliance.

Photo by Cast a Line

What Employers Need to Know About New Paid Leave Laws

paid leave laws

In May 2015, the city of Philadelphia passed legislation regarding employer-provided sick leave. This act required most employers to offer 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to employees if they didn’t already. This annual sick leave can be used, not only by the employee to tend to his or her own maladies, but also to care for a sick family member.

This legislation is noteworthy enough in a vacuum, but when looked at as a whole along with a number of other recent similar state and municipal enactments across the country, is forming a significant trend. A growing number of jurisdictions are mandating employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. As of October 2016, 5 states, 29 cities, 2 counties, and Washington D.C. have enacted paid sick leave laws, with several other jurisdictions planning to mandate paid sick time.

In our latest white paper, Lai-Sahn Hackett from Spring’s Integrated Disability Management team reviews legislative acts, across the country, related to sick leave to date and discusses the implications for employers and service providers alike.

You can get your copy of this helpful FREE paid leave white paper by filling out the form below and pressing “Submit & Download Paper.”

Photo by StockMonkeys.com

Same Gender Marriages and the FMLA- Considerations for HR Professionals

same gender marriage fmla

Today is a good day for same gender spouses under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Although it’s taken a while for the FMLA to catch up on the 2012 changes related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) being overturned based on the details of the United States vs. Windsor that day finally arrived on Friday, March 27, 2015.

With this change a spouse is now defined based on the state of celebration.  Therefore even if your state does not recognize same-sex marriage your policy related to the FMLA will need to recognize it, assuming it occurred legally in another jurisdiction.

Most human resource professionals have been preparing for this change for months…maybe years but here are two key reminders:

  • Although you may have known about this was coming since 2012, most supervisors have not!  Take an opportunity to remind your supervisors of this change.
  • Ensure you do not treat documentation requirements differently for same-sex marriage.  Therefore if a marriage certificate is not needed for opposite sex spouses, do not require it for same-sex spouses.

Take this opportunity to review your policy and documentation.  If the DOL comes knocking you will only have 72 hours to respond to their inquiry so look into it before they arrive at your door.

Photo by Mark Fischer