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Changes to state leave of absence laws in 2024

The biggest changes to state laws that will impact leave of absence management in 2024.

As we move into 2024, let’s reflect on the upcoming changes to leave of absence management. Hundreds of legislative and regulatory initiatives were introduced and considered in 2023, and many were passed, impacting leave laws across the country. Below is a snapshot of changes that will impact leave of absence administration in 2024. 


California 
 
California enacted Senate Bill 848, adding the new “Leave for Reproductive Loss.” This new leave provides leave for a “reproductive loss event,” including miscarriage, stillbirth, unsuccessful assisted reproduction, and failed adoption or surrogacy. Beginning January 1, 2024, eligible employees are entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave per reproductive loss event. 
 
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) Voluntary Plan Administration Team released the 2024 State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) contribution rates, maximum benefit amounts, and voluntary plan assessment rates. The following will go into effect on January 1, 2024: 

  • SDI/PFL Contribution Rate: 1.1% of employee wages (Note: California enacted Senate Bill 951 in 2022, which removes the wage cap on income subject to the SDI/PFL contributions starting 1/1/2024)
  • Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount: $1,620 (Note: same as 2023)
  • Voluntary Plan Assessment Rate of Taxable Wages: 0.00154%

Colorado 
 
Colorado’s paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program is already accepting applications for leave benefits to begin January 1, 2024. Colorado recently amended the program rules and regulations ahead of the January 1st “go-live,” including some major notable changes: 

  • Clarifying that application year and benefit year are defined as the 12-month period forward from the date the claim is filed.
  • Clarifying that employer approval is not needed to access continuous, reduced, or intermittent leave schedules.
  • Clarifying that where an absence is caused by circumstances that would entitle the individual to workers' compensation benefits, that individual is not entitled to FAMLI benefits, whether the indemnity is total or partial.
  • Adding that an employer policy may not count FAMLI wage replacement or duration of leave against past or future balances of STD, LTD, or paid family/medical leave bank.
  • Adding a section describing employer notification requirements relating to CO FAMLI benefits. In addition to workplace notice posting and providing the program notice upon hire, it requires that employers must provide the program notice to employees within 5 days of learning the employee is experiencing an event that triggers FAMLI leave eligibility. The notice must be provided in English, Spanish, and in any language representing the first language spoken by at least 5% of the employer's workplace.
  • Adding a section describing employer notification requirements relating to when an employer chooses to deny job reinstatement, if applicable and permissible under the law.
  • Amending the timeline for claimant appeals of a state benefits determination from 45 days to 49 days from the date the determination is issued (and also details possible extensions).
  • Adding that, for both state and private plans, if the Division or a court reverses or modifies a denial of a FAMLI claim, the Division or private plan must pay the benefits as soon as practicable but no later than 5 business days after the order awarding benefits.
  • Clarifying how to manage claims when an employer changes from private plan to state plan (and vice versa). The previous plan is required to continue paying all approved leave through the approved duration or until recertification.
  • Clarifying that private plan employers may not withdraw funds from the separate private plan account except to pay benefits and private plan administrative costs, and that upon termination of a private plan, the employer must remit the remaining balance of the account to the Division.
  • Adding a requirement that private plan employers make reasonable efforts to provide forms and communications available in an individual's primary language.
  • Clarifying that private plan reporting begins in 2024.

Connecticut 
 
In September, Connecticut announced it will increase its minimum wage, effective January 1, 2024. This increase will also raise the maximum weekly benefit for Connecticut Paid Leave to $941.40 beginning January 1, 2024. 


Illinois 
 
In 2023, Illinois enacted three separate legislative initiatives, House Bill 2493, House Bill 3516, and Senate Bill 2034, that impact three separate Illinois leave laws administered by Alight Leave Solutions: Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), Illinois Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act, and Illinois Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act, respectively. Below is a summary of each, effective January 1, 2024: 

  • House Bill 2493 – Amending the Illinois VESSA 
    • This bill expanded the leave reasons to include: reasons related to any crime of violence; to attend the funeral, the alternative to a funeral, or the wake of a family or household member who is killed in a crime of violence; to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family or household member who is killed in a crime of violence; or to grieve the death of a family or household member who is killed in a crime of violence. The newly added bereavement reasons limit entitlement to 2 workweeks of unpaid leave that must be completed within 60 days after the employee receives notice of the death. The bill also clarifies what types of documentation may satisfy the certification requirements.
  • House Bill 3516 – Amending the Illinois Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act 
    • This bill amends the “Illinois Employee Blood Donation Leave Act” by changing the name to the “Illinois Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act” and expanding the reasons for time off to include organ donation. Per this amendment, an employee may use up to 10 days of employer-paid leave in any 12-month period to serve as an organ donor.
  • Senate Bill 2034 – Creating the Illinois Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act 
    • This bill creates the “Illinois Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act,” which provides employees with job-protected, unpaid leave if the employee experiences the loss of a child by suicide or homicide. The amount of leave is dependent upon the size of employer, for which the employee works: an employee of a large employer that employs 250+ full-time employees is entitled to use a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave; an employee of a small employer that employs at least 50 to 250 full-time employees is entitled to use a maximum of 6 weeks of unpaid leave.

This bill also amends the Illinois Family Bereavement Act to require the two laws run concurrently. A person who takes leave under the Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act because of the death of a child may not take additional leave under the Family Bereavement Leave Act because of the death of the same child.


Hawaii 
 
Hawaii’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program released its maximum weekly wage base and maximum weekly benefit amounts for 2024. Effective January 1, 2024, the maximum weekly wage base will be $1,374.78 and the maximum weekly benefit will increase to $798.


Maryland 
 
Maryland is underway with developing its paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program, which is anticipated to begin providing benefits to eligible employees taking qualified leave in 2026. However, contributions to the program begin October 1, 2024. The contribution rate is 0.9% of employees’ wages up to the federal Social Security Taxable Wage Base of $168,600 for 2024. 


Massachusetts 
 
Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program released its maximum weekly benefit and updated the contribution rates for employers and employees, beginning January 1, 2024. The maximum weekly benefit will increase to $1,149.90. Contribution rates will increase to 0.88% of employees’ wages, split between the employer and employees. For Family Leave contributions, the rate will be 0.18% (covered only by employee contributions). For Medical Leave contributions, the rate will be 0.7% (split as 0.42% employer contributions and 0.28% employee contributions). 


Nevada 
 
Nevada enacted Assembly Bill 163, which modifies the current Nevada law providing leave for domestic violence victims. Effective January 1, 2024, the law is expanded to include victims of sexual assault. 


New Hampshire 
 
New Hampshire’s voluntary Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program’s weekly benefit will increase starting January 1, 2024. The maximum weekly benefit will be $1,945.38, which is 60% of the Social Security Taxable Wage Base of $168,600 in 2024. Employers interested in offering paid leave through MetLife, the designated carrier, can learn more information here


New Jersey 
 
New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Family Leave Insurance (FLI) programs updated their maximum weekly benefits and contribution rates for 2024, as follows: 

  • New Jersey TDI/FLI Maximum Weekly Benefit: $1,055
  • New Jersey FLI employee contribution rate: 0.09% of the first $161,400 of annual earnings

 New York 
 
New York adopted regulations amending the New York Disability Benefits Law (DBL) to update and clarify the disability benefits regulations and disability benefits claims process, conforming the regulations to the statute, and align several sections with Paid Family Leave (PFL). Specifically, this regulation: 

  • Expanded the definition of disability to include incapacitation as a result of being an organ donor in a transplant operation.
  • Added a new subdivision that provides that an employee is presumed to have a disability caused by or in connection with a pregnancy for at least the 4 weeks prior to the child's estimated due date and for the 6 weeks after giving birth. An employee who delivers by Cesarean section has a disability caused by or in connection with a pregnancy for 8 weeks after giving birth.
  • Clarified notice and proof of disability requirements, including updating the DB-450 claim form.
  • Modified requirements regarding denial of a claim, including adding a new required form: DB-DEN.
  • Provided alternate methods for filing a claim.

Additionally, New York’s PFL program will see an increase in maximum weekly benefit and a decrease in the contribution rate, starting January 1, 2024. The maximum weekly benefit will increase to $1,151.16. The employee contribution rate will decrease to 0.373% of employee gross weekly wages.


Oregon 
 
Oregon enacted Senate Bill 913, which amended the Paid Leave Oregon program’s contribution wage base. Starting January 1, 2024, the maximum wage base will be tied to the federal Social Security Taxable Wage Base of $168,600 for 2024. The maximum weekly benefit will not see a change until July 2024, when the state releases the updated State Average Weekly Wage. 
 
Oregon also enacted Senate Bill 999, which amended the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) definition of “one-year period” for the purposes of determining the amount of family leave that an eligible employee is entitled to take within a given one-year period. This amendment will align the definition with the Paid Leave Oregon statute. Starting July 1, 2024, the “one-year period” for OFLA will be calculated as “a period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the date on which family leave commences.” 


Rhode Island 
 
Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) programs will also be increasing weekly benefits, starting January 1, 2024. The minimum weekly benefit will increase to $130, and the maximum weekly benefit will increase to $1,043. The contribution rate will also increase to 1.2% of taxable wages, up to $87,000 per year. 


Vermont 
 
Beginning July 1, 2024, private sector and non-state public employers with two or more employees may elect to participate, on a voluntary basis, in the Vermont Voluntary Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) program. The FMLI program is administered by The Hartford. More information on how to elect coverage can be found here


Washington 
 
Washington passed Senate Bill 5586, effective January 1, 2024, amending Washington State’s Paid Family and Medical (PFML) rules to allow any “interested party” – including the employee, the employee’s current employer, and the current employer’s third-party administrator – to have access to records and information held by the Employment Security Department (ESD) related to the employee's paid family or medical leave claim, including: 

  • The type of leave being taken;
  • Requested duration of leave including the approved dates of leave; and
  • Whether the employee was approved for benefits and was paid benefits for any given week.

Such information provided by the ESD may be used only for the purpose of administering internal employer leave or benefit practices under established employer policies. 
 
Also, effective January 1, 2024, Washington’s PFML program will see an increase in maximum weekly benefits and a change in contribution rates. The maximum weekly benefit for 2024 will be $1,456. For contributions, the total rate will decrease to 0.74% of employees’ wages, up to the federal Social Security Taxable Wage Base of $168,600 for 2024. The contributions will be split between employees and employer, at 71.43% of the total premium paid by employees and 28.57% of the total premium paid by employers with 50+ employees.

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