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Paid family leave laws: A state-by-state guide

Updated: January 27, 2023

By: Jon Davis

Award-winning payroll (with a built-in HR department)

More and more states are adding paid family and medical leave (PFML) laws to help workers ensure some of their wages continue even during a serious illness — of their own or for a family member — or the birth of a child. If you have employees in states such as California, New York, New Jersey, or Rhode Island, you were one of the first employers to have PFML responsibilities. And now Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Maine, New York, Washington D.C., and Oregon have added requirements.

 

If your state is considering one of these laws, you may be curious about what it means for your payroll tax collection or how the benefits will work for your employees. We’ve pulled together a state-by-state guide for paid family leave requirements and how they impact your business.

Isn’t there a federal medical leave law?

Yes, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to guarantee employees time off for family or medical reasons and offer them a job with comparable pay and benefits — though not necessarily the same job — when they return. When it became law in 1993, FMLA was intended to offer some stability for employees who needed to take time away from work to deal with a major medical issue of their own or care for a seriously ill family member.

 

Up until then, there was no federal protection like this for workers, including women and men who took time off after the birth or adoption of a child. Whether or not an employee would have a job when they got back to work depended on the state they lived in or their company’s employment policies.

 

However, while the FMLA guarantees up to 12 weeks’ leave, that time is unpaid. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are also exempt from the federal law. So, many states have opted to require employers to provide a paid option to go a step further to offer some income while an employee is out on leave. Most of this funding is paid through taxes collected from the employee, employer, or both — but typically collected and remitted to the state by the employer.

 

Choose your state below to see if there are specific paid family and medical leave (PFML) requirements where you do business.

Here’s how the leave laws break down by state:

 

State or district How it works The fine print Effective date
California  Employees get time off to care for a new, adopted or foster child, care for their own disability, family member with a serious illness, or manage affairs if a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is on active military duty (or has been notified of an impending call to duty).

 

Employees can receive 60-70 percent of wages for up to six weeks within any 12-month period.

 

The length of employment does not affect eligibility.

Employees must be a part- or full-time public- or private-sector employee who has contributed to the State Disability Insurance program through mandatory payroll deductions at some point during the previous 18 months.

 

Note: California’s program does not provide job protection — only monetary benefits.

In effect

 

Learn more at ca.gov

Colorado Employees will receive up to 12 weeks leave in a one-year period to bond with a new child (adoption, birth, foster), care for a family member with a serious health condition, or their own serious illness health condition, or make arrangements for a family member’s military deployment.

 

The FAMLI statute requires that employers post a notice in a prominent, visible workplace location to inform workers about the FAMLI program by January 1, 2023.

Note: Colorado’s program provides job protection if the employee has been with the employer for 180 plus days.

 

Most Colorado employees become eligible to take paid leave after they have earned at least $2,500 in wages subject to premiums within the state in the last four (4) calendar quarters.

 

 

Payroll withholding and employer contributions begin:

 

1/1/2023

 

Employee benefits begin:

 

1/1/2024

 

Learn more at colorado.gov

Connecticut As of January 1, 2022, all employees get up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period in the event of the birth or adoption of a child, serious illness of the employee, or serious illness of a close family member.

 

(Previously 16 weeks/24 months)

Employees must have been employed for 12 months and have worked at least 1,000 or more hours in the 12-month period preceding the first day of leave.

 

(Previously exempt if employing fewer than 75 employees)

In effect

 

Learn more at ct.gov

Delaware Employees will get up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period to care for a child (adoption, birth, foster) or care for a family member with a serious health condition or their own medical condition. Employees should give 30 days’ notice of their intent to take leave, if known or foreseeable. Payroll withholding and employer contributions go into effect:

 

1/1/2025

 

Employee benefits begin:

 

1/1/2026

 

Learn more at delaware.gov

District of Columbia  As of October 1, 2022, employees receive:

  • two weeks to care for a pregnancy.
  • 12 weeks for the birth or adoption of a child.
  • 12 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • 12 weeks to care for their own serious health condition.

 

The Paid Family Leave notice must be posted in a visible and accessible location for all employees. The notice will be updated each October and must be posted no later than the following February.

The tax is 100% employer-funded and may not be deducted from a worker’s paycheck.

 

All private-sector employers in District of Columbia must participate in the program.

 

Most DC-based employees of private-sector employers are covered and must provide employers with at least 10 days’ notice when the employee knows they need leave.

In effect

 

Learn more at dc.gov

Maine  Employers will provide one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked up to a max of 40 hours of paid leave per year.

 

Employees start accruing leave on their first day of work, but cannot use it until after 120 days of employment.

 

Employees may use leave for any reason.

Employees cannot use the time until they have worked at least 120 days over a one-year period.

 

Before full-time workers can take paid leave, they would also need to work 40 hours per week for 24 weeks. At that time, they should have earned three days’ leave.

 

As of Oct. 2021, medical leave must be allowed for the serious health condition of a grandchild.

 

Companies that operate seasonally or those with fewer than 10 employees are exempt.

In effect

 

Learn more at maine.gov

Maryland Employees will be eligible to take up to 12 or 24 weeks of job-protected, paid leave per year to manage a serious personal illness, care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with a new child (adoption, birth, or foster), or manage family affairs while a family member is deployed for military duty. Applies to all Maryland employers that employ at least one (1) employee.

 

Employees must have worked at least 680 hours over a 12-month period preceding the first day of leave.

Payroll withholding and employer contributions go into effect:

 

10/1/2023

 

Employee benefits begin:

 

1/1/2025

 

Learn more at maryland.gov

Massachusetts Leave can be used to manage a serious personal illness, care for a sick family member, birth or adoption of a child, or manage family affairs while a family member is on active military duty.

 

Coverage is available to all W-2 workers who work in Massachusetts, whether full-time, part-time, or seasonal, as well as some 1099-NEC contractors.

Applies to all Massachusetts employers regardless of size.

 

Those caring for a loved one who serves in the military may be covered for up to 26 weeks starting Jan. 1, 2021.

In effect

 

Learn more at mass.gov

New Jersey  Employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period to care for a child or a family member who has a serious health condition.

 

The law in New Jersey requires all covered employers to display a benefits poster in a conspicuous location where all employees can see it.

Employees must have been with the employer for one year and worked at least 1,000 hours in the last 12 months.

 

This leave cannot be used for the employee’s own personal illness.

 

Employees must give at least 15 days notice for intermittent leave and 30 days notice for consecutive leave.

In effect

 

Learn more at nj.gov

New York  Employees can take up to 12 weeks (previously 10 weeks) of leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, birth of a child, or manage family affairs while a family member is on abroad on active military duty.

 

Most employees who work in New York State for private employers are eligible to take Paid Family Leave.

Employees should give employers 30 days’ notice, if foreseeable.

 

Full-time and part-time employees are eligible, but both have minimum hours and length of employment requirements.

In effect

 

Learn more at ny.gov

Oregon  Employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of family leave within a 12-month period.

 

Covers parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, managing a serious health condition for the employee or a family member, pregnancy, sick child leave, the closure of a school or child care provider because of a public health emergency, bereavement, or military family leave.

 

Employers must display a paid leave notice in an area that is accessible to employees and frequently visited.

Employees may be required to give 30 days’ notice in advance of leave unless it is taken for an emergency.

 

Employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt, barring declaration of a public health emergency under Or. Rev. Stat. § 433.441, or Or. Rev. Stat. § 401.165

 

Note: Oregon’s program offers an employee job protection if they have been with an employer for more than 90 days.

 

Payroll withholding and employer contributions begin:

1/1/2023

 

Employee benefits begin:

9/3/2023

 

Learn more at oregon.gov

Rhode Island  Employees can take up to 13 weeks in any two calendar years for the birth or adoption of a child, the employee’s own serious illness, or to care for a family member with a serious illness. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt. In effect

 

Learn more at rilegislature.gov

Washington Employees will receive up to 12 weeks to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition, recover from a serious illness or injury, or manage a military deployment-related situation.

 

Employees must have worked at least 820 hours for any Washington employer during the previous 12 months.

 

Employers are required by law to inform their employees about the Paid Family and Medical Leave program by posting a notice in a location that is typically used to post other employment-related announcements and information.

Employees must give 30 days’ notice of commencement date for the leave, except in case of an emergency.

 

Worker’s receive between $100 and $1,000 per week, depending on their income.

In effect

 

Learn more at wa.gov

 

 

Additionally, employers may have payroll record retention requirements they need to follow, depending on their state. Oregon, for example, requires employers to keep records that show the total number of hours worked and leave taken by employees over the previous three calendar years, as well as employee expenses and contributions. Separately, the District of Columbia says employers should maintain wage documentation and related communications.

 

Which states have proposed paid and family medical leave legislation?

Several states have proposed paid and family medical leave legislation, including Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota*, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Beginning in January 2023, New Hampshire will implement a voluntary paid and family medical leave program for all employers and employees in the state.

 

In addition, the state of Vermont has announced that its voluntary PFL program will launch in July 2023, initially for State employees only. By 2025, the goal of the program is to make sure that every worker in the state has access (it is not a requirement for employers or employees) to affordable paid family and medical leave insurance.

 

Notable update*
On January 25, Minnesota’s House Workforce Development Finance and Policy Committee advanced a paid and family leave proposal (HF2). If the bill is approved, the state-run insurance program could provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and an additional 12 weeks of paid medical leave per year to Minnesota workers by July 2025.

 

More details and updates are available from the Minnesota House of Representatives or see the amended bill.

Keep up with paid family leave laws

Most states have done a good job communicating requirements for employers including how and when they will need to begin collecting paid leave funds for covered individuals. However, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, reach out to your accountant or payroll service provider to see how they can help make sure you’re getting paid leave deductions right.

 

Please note all material in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute tax or legal advice. You should always contact a qualified tax, legal or financial professional, in your area for comprehensive tax or legal advice.

 

 

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Jon Davis is the Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.