Paid Family Leave Updates Coast-to-Coast: Washington and New York

This week two states, Washington and New York, released important updates to paid family leave laws. Below is a quick overview.

WA PFML Phase 2 Rules

The Washington Employment Security Department (WA ESD), the agency charged with administering Washington’s paid family and medical leave (WA PFML) law, announced its phase 2 rules are complete. A truncated list of the phase 2 rules includes:

  • definitions such as covered employer and employer agent;
  • employer responsibilities, including:
    • premium collection;
    • state reporting obligations;
    • benefit payment deadlines for employers offering a voluntary plan; and
  • audits, penalties, and dispute resolution procedures.

Employers, carriers, and third-party administrators who might be assisting employers with a voluntary plan under the WA PFML should become familiar with the WA ESD’s final phase 2 rules as they prepare for employer premium collection obligations on January 1, 2019 and benefit administration on January 1, 2020. More information about the WA ESD rules implementing the WA PFML law can be found at the WA ESD’s rulemaking portal.

New York Paid Family Leave – Organ and Tissue Donation

On November 5th, Governor Cuomo signed the New York Living Donor Act (Act) into law which, among other things, specified that the serious health condition definition under the New York Paid Family Leave law (NY PFL) includes the “transplantation preparation and recovery related to organ or tissue donation.” Why is this significant? his newly signed legislation might not seem to be a change to whether an otherwise healthy person’s act of organ or tissue donation qualifies as a serious health condition under leave laws. However, earlier this year the United States Department of Labor (DOL) clarified this topic under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave by issuing an opinion letter that verifies that organ donation surgery and subsequent recovery can qualify as FMLA leave for the otherwise healthy person who is the donor. NY PFL’s new, or clarified, leave reason is effective 90 days after the governor’s signature, which is February 3, 2019.

Leave Laws Add Complexity with More Layers

These two new layers add even more complexity to managing paid family and medical leave benefits. New York and Washington already operate at an elevated level regarding their leave law regulations: both states have over 9 leave laws each when you count the federal and local laws that may apply to employers and employees within each state! Sometimes it’s enough to make your head spin. So how do you manage your company’s leave process? Spreadsheets? Multiple processes? How confident are you that what and how you’re managing enables you to keep litigation and compliance audits at bay?

Simplify the Complex

FINEOS Absence is a comprehensive leave plan rules engine to help you work smarter, stay compliant, provide superior customer service, and leverage the FINEOS Digital Platform.

  • Reduce risk through automating regulatory compliance
  • Automate accurate calculation of both entitlement time and benefits
  • Integrate management of paid and unpaid leaves and workplace accommodations
  • Automate payment processing and absence determinations
  • Enable easy navigation of absence process for both employers and employees
  • Enable seamless leave and accommodation experiences that promote efficient return-to- work outcomes

If you’re interested in learning more about FINEOS Absence and how it can enrich your absence and leave management, drop me a line. I’d love to chat with you about all the benefits you can derive when you Simplify the Complex with FINEOS Absence.

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