Yesterday evening, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committe held the first hearing in weeks on Paid Family Medical Leave from 5:30PM – 9:00PM. The hearing was held because the fiscal note (cost of the program) is now available, which you can read below.
During the hearing, several amendments were adopted that make changes to the bill. While we are working to best understand how they will impact the program, here are some highlights:
Exempts seasonal employees: “Employee does not include seasonal employees who are employed for no more than 150 days during any consecutive 52-week period. A seasonal employee whose employment extends beyond 150 days during any consecutive 52-week period shall be considered an employee for the purposes of this chapter retroactively to the first day of employment.”
Reduces maximum benefit to 20 weeks: “The total number of weeks that an applicant may take benefits in a single benefit year for a serious health condition is the lesser of 12 weeks, or 12 weeks minus the number of weeks within the same benefit year that the applicant received benefits for bonding, safety, or family care plus 8 weeks. The total number of weeks that an applicant may take benefits in a single benefit year for bonding, safety leave, or family care is the lesser of 12 weeks, or 12 weeks minus the number of weeks within the same benefit year that the applicant received benefits for a serious health condition plus 8 weeks.”
Changes the 90 day provision: Clearly shifts 90 day provision to apply to job protection (not when you can take the leave. “Ninety days from the date of hire, an employee has a right and is entitled to reinstatement as provide under this subdivision for any day for which the employee has been deemed eligible for benefits under this chapter.”
Small business wage exclusion: “For employers with fewer than 30 employees, the amount of wages upon which quarterly employer premium is required is reduced by the premium rate to be paid by the employer multiplied by the lessor of:
Changes to business assistance grants: Allows employers to be eligible for business assistance grant when more than 15% of employees are receiving the benefits in any given week. The grant shall be equal to the lesser of: 25% of wages earned by the employees on leave in the most recent completed quarter divide by 13 or $300 per week per employee on leave. The grant must be used to hire temporary workers or to increase the wages for current employees. The grant is paid weekly.
Actuarial study: Requires an independent actuarial study to be completed and reported on by October 31, 2023. The actuarial study must study the family and medical leave premium rate, premium rate structure, weekly benefit formula, duration of benefits, fund reserve and other components as necessary to determine an actuarially sound rate and future rate setting mechanism of the family and medical benefit insurance program.
Follow as we advocate for the hospitality industry at the local, state and federal levels. This work has been a hallmark of the Association for decades, and will continue to be a core benefit of membership.