Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) in 2023: What You Need to Know
Paid Family and Medical Leave continues to be a confusing point for employers, compounded by new legislation being proposed at a seemingly constant pace. As leaders in the disability and absence management space, we are dedicated to staying on top of updates around PFML, among other areas. After a busy year in that regard, with another on the horizon, we wanted to share this brief overview.
In 2022, there was more movement towards state PFML laws being passed after decreased activity in previous years, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example:
- Delaware and Maryland both passed laws establishing PFML programs
- Virginia established insurance rules, allowing carriers in the state to provide insured PFML plans to clients
- Colorado and Oregon began collecting contributions on 1/1 and have been working to ensure they are prepared to do so, while establishing other rules for the effective administration of PFML
- New Hampshire worked to develop their voluntary PFML program selecting MetLife as its insurance partner and began coverage on 1/1/2023
- Vermont selected The Hartford as its insurance partner for its voluntary PFML program
- Maine made strides in developing the structure of their state mandated PFML program
In 2023, we expect continued activity. Pennsylvania and Michigan have outstanding proposals for PFML, which will likely be decided upon in 2023, one way or another. Additional states may also put forward proposals in upcoming legislative sessions.
In addition, and as seen in the updates below, states with existing legislation continue to make adjustments to their PFML programs. Adjustments to contributions and benefits are typically expected, most commonly, but not always, at the end of the calendar year.
The map below shows a summary of states with existing PFML legislation and programs in place, those who have proposed legislation without it being passed, and those that have not had any activity related to PFML in recent years.
In 2023, Massachusetts will be updating maximum benefit amounts and reducing total contributions.
The maximum weekly benefit is increasing to $1,129.82, effective 1/1/2023. This is an increase of about $45 from the 2022 weekly maximum. For any employees who may have leave that runs from 2022 into 2023, the weekly benefit that was determined when leave was approved will continue. The new maximum will not be applied until there is a new MA PFML leave application.
Contributions, however, will be reduced in 2023. The total contribution is decreasing from 0.68% to 0.63%, for employers with 25 or more covered individuals. The medical leave contribution will be 0.52%, with employers funding 0.312% and employees responsible for up to 0.208%. The family leave contribution will be 0.11%, with employers able to collect the total contribution from employees. Employers with less than 25 employees are not required to submit the employer portion of premium.
Other State Updates
Other states have made updates to their programs effective January 1, 2023, unless otherwise noted below. Some states may make changes off calendar year (e.g., District of Columbia, Rhode Island), which are not included if they have not yet been released.
Employers should review their PFML plans, policies, and processes to confirm they are in line with any legislative changes. To do so, the following checklist can be followed:
– Update employee notices and benefit documentation, as appropriate
While formal notices may not always be required, especially if contributions are decreasing, communicating updates to employees is recommended, especially if the change will impact their pay. Most states provide sample notices that can be customized to fit an employer’s needs. Keep in mind that there may be timing requirements in place (e.g., 30 days in advance).
– Confirm employee count to determine if any changes to contributions are required
Some states require contributions from both employers and employees however do not require employer contributions from “small” employers. This definition of small varies by state (e.g., less than 25, less than 50 employees). Confirming the total number of employees will verify the contributions being remitted to the state are accurate.
– Review private plan strategies based on previous year experience and changes to contributions
Whether or not a private plan is an ideal method for an employer to provide PFML to employees may vary from year to year. This can largely be based on the cost of a private plan versus going with the state plan, but the employee experience also plays a major role. From a cost perspective, a private plan, in most states, will be based on that employer’s leave experience. If an employer has high PFML incidence rates, insurance carriers or TPAs may charge more than is required to be paid under the state plan. From an employee experience perspective, having to file PFML claims to the state and what are often concurrent disability, FMLA or other leave claims to the employer or its vendor partner, can be confusing and require more effort for both employees and employers. While the driving factors will vary by employer, both cost and employee experience should be considered.
– Renew private plans as appropriate
When a private plan is in operation, states may require these be renewed at certain intervals. Massachusetts, for instance, requires this annually, while Connecticut only requires it every three years, unless a material change to the plan is made. Employers should review the timing of their private plan approval and guarantee it is up to date.
If you need assistance ensuring PFML compliance or assessing the optimal plan set up for your organization, Spring’s consultants are happy to help.