How The States Stack Up

How The States Stack Up

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The U.S. is among the few countries that does not yet require employers to provide paid sick leave or a similar form of paid leave. This may be a driving factor behind individual states introducing forms of paid leave requirements, a trend that continues to grow every year.

With various state-level PFML laws being introduced and enacted, a big question employers face is how and if FMLA and, potentially the AFP, will coordinate with state paid leave laws. Some questions that arise and must be considered are whether paid (medical and/or family) leave is being substituted for FMLA and whether FMLA and paid leave are concurrent. The answers to these questions will vary by state and local laws. The amount of leave benefits and reasons for use will also vary by state. Will a federal plan preempt state and local ordinances? This remains to be seen, as the AFP does not address the potential coordination with statutory laws. There is wide variation of the applicable provisions of these laws, from the amount of pay replacement to the duration of time off. These complexities will make it difficult for a federal plan to meet all of the parameters, meaning some ordinances may still be more generous in some respects than the proposed AFP.

The following grids demonstrate how PFL and/or PFML laws vary across the states:

Amount of Pay Replacement:

Graph 1 (2) from Absence Minded May 2021 - cropped

Duration of Leave Benefits:

Graph 2 (2) from Absence Minded May 2021 - cropped

Reasons for Use:

Graph 3 (2) from Absence Minded May 2021 - cropped

As you can see, the benefits vary significantly across states, and building a federal plan that strives to meet or exceed these parameters will be challenging. The U.S. is among the few countries that does not yet require employers to provide paid sick leave or a similar form of paid leave. This may be a driving factor behind individual states introducing forms of paid leave requirements, a trend that continues to grow every year. It is reasonable to conclude that we will continue to see requirements for paid leave from states and municipalities grow over time, potentially making a federal plan even more challenging to implement. The once distant concept of paid federal leave may soon be spending more significant time in the limelight.

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Pacific Resources Absence Team

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