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News Items, by Subject

Family and medical leave, incl. FMLA

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[Guidance Overview] Paid Sick Leave in San Antonio and Dallas Survives the Texas Legislature
"[T]he Texas Legislature recently wrapped up its legislative session without passing a law curtailing city-specific paid sick leave laws -- and the Legislature will not meet again until 2021. In the meantime, Dallas' and San Antonio's paid sick leave laws are scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2019. (Austin's ordinance is stayed pending an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.) ... [U]nless the Texas Supreme Court rules that the laws are unconstitutional, employers in Dallas and San Antonio should begin preparing to comply with the paid sick leave requirements." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Texas Paid Sick Leave Ordinances in State of Confusion
"It was thought that the Texas Legislature would pass legislation that would prohibit these ordinances from existing in the first place. The legislative session ended, however, with no such legislation making its way to Governor Abbott's desk ... With the Austin ordinance declared unconstitutional by the Austin Court of Appeals and the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019, Texas employers are left wondering what to do about implementing paid sick leave for Dallas and San Antonio employees." (FordHarrison)
[Guidance Overview] District of Columbia's Universal Paid Leave Act Tax Goes Into Effect July 1, 2019
"The Act creates a paid leave system funded by employers that have employees working in the District, regardless of whether the employer themselves has a physical presence within the District. The Act applies broadly to all employers that directly or indirectly exercise control over employees working in the District and are required to pay unemployment insurance for those employees." (Eversheds Sutherland)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave Releases Final PFML Regs and New Template Worker Notice Forms
"The final regulations confirm that employers may deduct different percentages from the wages of different groups of covered workers ... permit employers to require intermittent leave to be taken in increments not smaller than a designated minimum time period ... [and] have added an exception for employees who are hired for a specific term or only to perform work on a discrete project.... Several of the final regulations' key revisions and clarifications pertain to private plans[.]" (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Sets New Deadlines and Contribution Rates for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
"The date for employers to begin withholding PFML contributions from qualifying employee earnings has been moved from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019.... The deadline for notice requirements has been extended ... until September 30, 2019 ... The deadline for employers with private leave programs ... to apply for an exemption from the state program has also been extended ... from September 20, 2019 until December 20, 2019." (Epstein Becker Green)
Employers Need to Prepare Now for Washington, DC's Universal Paid Leave (PDF)
"[1] Determine if law applies ... [2] Get ready for quarterly contributions and filings ...[3] Prepare for notice and recordkeeping requirements ... [4] Assess how new law coordinates with other leave ... [5] Prepare for benefits to begin in 2020 ... [6] Update policies and train staff on leave rights ... [7] Monitor compliance to avoid enforcement action.... Employers have limited time to make their initial contribution and file a wage report." (Mercer)
[Guidance Overview] More Details on Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law Implementation
"[T]he Department announced an increase to the total contribution rate from 0.63 percent to 0.75 percent of employee qualifying earnings ... to offset the shorter period for collections that will result from the three-month delay [and] ensure that full funding will be in place when benefit payments begin in January 2021. The breakdown between medical contributions and family leave contributions remains at 82.5 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively." (Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Paid Family Leave Taxes Start July 1 for District of Columbia Employers
"Starting on July 1, 2019, the District of Columbia will begin collecting taxes from most of the District's private sector employers and non-profit organizations to fund a new Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefit. This tax will equate to 0.62% (0.0062) of all quarterly wages for each employee who is also covered under the D.C. Unemployment Act.... [T]he cost cannot be deducted from employee pay.... Employees cannot start receiving PFL benefits until July 1, 2020." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
Texas Paid Sick Leave: What Do Employers Do Now?
"The only pending lawsuit against a sick leave ordinance in Texas is against the Austin ordinance. This ordinance has been enjoined from taking effect since November of last year ... [The authors] anticipate similar lawsuits will be filed against San Antonio and Dallas within the next 30 days, seeking to enjoin those cities' ordinances from taking effect. It is questionable, however, whether there will be sufficient time for the courts to rule on any motions seeking preliminary injunctions before the August 1, 2019, effective date." (Littler)
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Affirms $2 Million Jury Verdict in Favor of Employee Who Vacationed During FMLA Leave
"The court stated, 'DaPrato took FMLA leave to allow his foot to recover fully from surgery. Such recovery could take place in a warm climate as well as in a New England winter.' However, the court also warned, 'An employee recovering from a leg injury . . . may not climb Machu Picchu without abusing the FMLA process. Careful consideration of the reasons for the medical leave and the activities undertaken, including the timeline for rehabilitation and recovery, are required to determine whether the FMLA leave has been abused.' " [DaPrato v. Mass. Water Res. Auth., No. SJC-12651 (Mass. June 5, 2019).] (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Connecticut Set to Expand Paid Family Leave Benefits
"The bill makes several substantive changes to CTFMLA, including compensating employees on leave, expanding coverage to employers with as few as 1 employee, and covering employees who have worked for their employer for as few as 12 weeks, with no minimum hours requirement. Sole proprietors/self-employed individuals may voluntarily enroll in the program." (Littler)
The Battle over Paid Sick Leave in Texas Continues
"Laws in Dallas and Austin require employers to provide six to eight paid sick days a year, depending on employer size. San Antonio's law allows employees to accrue up to 64 paid hours per year.... Although the Austin ordinance was challenged, no legal action has been taken to halt the Dallas or San Antonio ordinances, which are scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article)
Massachusetts Delays Paid Leave Employee Notice and Funding Requirements
"Following several days of negotiations between state officials, regional business organizations, and employee organizations, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has agreed to extend the deadlines for employee notification and contribution funding requirements.... The deadline to apply for a Private Plan Exemption will still be September 20, 2019. The deadline for the release of final regulations continues to be July 1, 2019." (OneDigital Health and Benefits)
[Guidance Overview] Maine Earned Leave Act: Maine Really is the Vacation State
"[A] new statute [requires] Maine employers (even small businesses) to provide paid time off beginning January 1, 2021. The law is the first of its kind in the nation to require paid time off, for any reason, including vacation time. Unfortunately, for employers, the law is short on specifics, leaving it to the state labor department to ... issue rules that will assist employers with many open questions about the their rights and obligations under the act." (Littler)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Governor and Legislative Leaders Agree to 3-Month Delay of July 1 Paid Family and Medical Leave Contributions
"It appears that the contribution rate will increase from 0.63% to 0.75% to make up for the 3 months of lost contributions, while the January 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021 effective dates for the commencement of leave benefits will remain the same." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Agreement in Place to Delay Required Massachusetts PFMLA Contributions Until October 1, 2019
"It is not clear what other amendments are being considered at this time.... [T]he coalition proposed additional amendments that would further align the PFMLA with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The letter proposed new language that clarifies intermittent leave counts against one's total allotment of leave and includes a definition of a 'serious health condition' as a condition that makes the covered individual unable to perform the functions of the covered individual's job." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
[Guidance Overview] Three Month Delay for Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Contributions
"Contributions into the state trust are now set to begin on October 1, 2019.... Though the legislature still needs to vote to adopt the decision to delay, the extra time will enable the Department of Family and Medical Leave to work out some of the still-looming questions surrounding the law (for example, whether contributions will be made on a post- or pre-tax basis), and give employers and covered business entities the bandwidth to set up the proper payroll contributions and notify their workforces." (Mintz)
Parental Leave Favoring Moms Yields $5 Million Class-Action Settlement
"This settlement far exceeds a similar $1.1 million agreement announced last year in a separate complaint ... Whether these recent EEOC actions signal increased enforcement of gender-neutral parental leave policies is unclear." (Mercer)
[Guidance Overview] Dallas Jumps on the Paid Sick Time Train
"On April 24, 2019, Dallas became the latest and third Texas city to pass an Ordinance requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The Law is scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019, for employers with more than five employees, and on August 1, 2021, for employers with five or fewer employees in the previous 12-month period. The Law closely mirrors the Austin Earned Sick Time Ordinance (previously scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2018, but currently enjoined) and the San Antonio Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (also scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019)." (Epstein Becker Green)
Recent Settlement Highlights Importance of Gender-Neutral Application of Parental Leave Policies
"[T]he company offered 'primary caregivers' 16 weeks of paid parental leave ... The policy itself did not include any gender-specific terminology regarding who qualified for primary and non-primary caregiver status.... After his child was born in May 2017, [the employee] requested 16 weeks of paid parental leave as a primary caregiver. The company denied his request, and allegedly informed him of the informal 'policy' that restricted fathers' eligibility to be primary caregivers. The plaintiff could not demonstrate that his wife had returned to work, however, because she was a teacher and had the summer off." (Vorys)
[Guidance Overview] Paid Leave Soon to Become Law in Nevada
"Although originally styled as 'sick leave' legislation, the final bill as enrolled requires that paid leave be made available to employees to be used for any reason. With limited exceptions, employers with 50 or more employees must provide paid leave to their employees in proportion to the number of hours worked. The bill makes no exception for part-time employees. The legislation becomes effective on January 1, 2020." (Littler)
Requiring Notice to HR in Addition to Manager Improperly Imposed Heightened FMLA Leave Notice Burden
"The employee contacted her manager but did not contact HR, as the employer's FMLA policy required. However, employees weren't required to contact HR for any other type of leave, so the employer could not refuse FMLA leave on that basis." [Moore v. GPS Hospitality Partners IV, LLC, No. 17-500 (S.D. Al. June 3, 2019)] (Wolters Kluwer; free registration required)
Connecticut Legislature Passes Most Generous Paid Family Leave Bill in U.S.
"12 weeks of paid leave will be provided to new parents and employees who need time to attend to health issues or the health issues of a family member. A sliding scale going up to 95% of salary for minimum wage workers, capped at $900 per week, will determine the level of benefits. The pay will be provided through a state-run insurance system funded by a 0.5% payroll tax." (HR Policy Association)
[Guidance Overview] Paid Sick Leave in San Antonio and Dallas: Answers to Employer Questions
"What are an employer's obligations under the new paid sick leave ordinances? ... Are there any major differences between the Dallas ordinance and the San Antonio ordinance? ... Do the ordinances require paid sick leave for part-time employees? ... If a company is not located in the city of San Antonio or the city of Dallas, but some of its employees work in either or both cities, does the company need to comply with the ordinances?.... What type of notice must employees give when using paid sick leave? ... Is there a grace period for compliance?" (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] How to Comply with Upcoming Deadlines for Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PDF)
"This [article] focuses on the upcoming deadlines and ... steps that employers should consider to meet the compliance requirements: [1] Post conspicuous notice of the PFML law in the workplace. [2] Provide individualized notice to employees and covered contractors and obtain written acknowledgement by June 30, 2019. [3] Begin payroll deductions by July 1, 2019, and remit contributions each quarter. [4] File for a private plan exemption by September 20, 2019, if desired." (Latham & Watkins)
An Outline of the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PDF)
"After approval of the claim request for benefits, a seven calendar day waiting period applies to the initial claim for benefits, which counts against the total available period of leave allowable in a calendar year.... Certain types of leave may be taken on an intermittent basis. The quantity of intermittent leave proportionately reduces the employee's available leave allotment and the weekly benefits reduce in direct proportion to the intermittent leave." (OneDigital Health and Benefits)
New Family Leave Laws May Increase Stress on Co-Workers, Disrupt Business Operations
"For men in [paid family leave (PFL)] states, bonding was the reason for FMLA leave more than twice as often as for men in non-PFL states. Men's bonding leave durations in PFL states were about 44% longer than in [unpaid family leave] states.... More than half of employees who experienced a co-worker's extended absence reported that staff took on the absent employee's responsibilities.... Adaptations such as having staff spend more time at work or perform an absent worker's responsibilities were significantly associated with greater personal consequences." (Integrated Benefits Institute)
Recent Court Decisions Highlight FMLA Issues (PDF)
"[T]his article presents three lessons learned from recent court cases. The first involves notice of the need for leave, the second lesson teaches when to designate leaves, once there is notice, and the third teaches how to avoid statements which mistakenly afford FMLA rights to employees that are otherwise unentitled, or in legal parlance, understanding estoppel in the FMLA context." (Dechert LLP)
To Pay or Not to Pay Parental Leave?
"Paid parental leave probably is most important to lower-wage workers -- particularly those who are paid hourly -- and who are less likely to be able to afford a day without pay. Working mothers, who usually are responsible for staying home with sick children and family members, benefit greatly from having paid sick leave." (Employee Benefits Report)
[Guidance Overview] Maine Becomes First State to Enact Paid Time Off Law
"[T]he Earned Employee Leave Act requires employers to allow employees to use earned paid leave for any reason and could have a ripple effect on how Maine and multi-state employers structure their employee paid leave benefits. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2021." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Westchester County, NY Enacts Standalone Paid Safe Leave Law
"[O[nly weeks after its new Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL) took effect, Westchester County, NY enacted the Safe Leave Time Law (SLTL). Effective approximately October 30, 2019, the SLTL requires employers to provide all eligible employees with 40 hours of paid leave that can be used for certain reasons relating to domestic violence or human trafficking. The SLTL's 40 hours of paid leave will be in addition to any sick leave provided by the ESLL." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts FMLA Deadlines Nearing
"Although many of the specifics regarding MFMLA's implementation are still uncertain, a few deadlines are fast approaching: [1] June 30, 2019: All employers in Massachusetts must provide employees with a notice of rights under the new law. [2] July 1, 2019: Employers must begin making deductions from wages or payments for services to fund quarterly contributions to the department. [3] September 20, 2019: Employers interested in obtaining an exemption from the MFMLA's contribution requirements must file for the exemption." (Wilmer Hale)
Bipartisan Group of Senate Finance Committee Members Establishes Paid Family Leave Working Group
"On May 22, 2019, members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal tax policy and significant health care policy, announced a bipartisan working committee of Finance Committee senators to consider the issue of federal paid family leave policy. The paid family leave working group plans to meet regularly and devise a list of principles on which all member senators reach agreement by consensus." (Hunton Andrews Kurth)
[Guidance Overview] Paid Family and Medical Leave Coming to Massachusetts
"While MPFML is similar to the FMLA, it is considerably more expansive in terms of the leave and benefits it provides. The following chart identifies certain important distinctions between the two laws." (Morgan Lewis)
Workers on FMLA Leave Have No Right to Be 'Left Alone,' Court Says
"Employers cannot generally require employees on FMLA leave to remain on-call or continue working, but the statute does not provide any right to be 'left alone,' said the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Because the worker was terminated for failing to timely and meaningfully respond to a one-time inquiry that was unrelated to the exercise of her FMLA rights, there was no FMLA interference and summary judgment in favor of the employer was upheld, the court held." [Reagan v. Centre Lifelink Emergency Medical Services, Inc., No. 17-3056 (3rd Cir. May 2, 2019)] (HR Dive)
[Guidance Overview] Maine Becomes First State to Require Unrestricted Paid Leave
"Maine's Governor Janet Mills has signed into law an Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave, which will require covered employers to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid personal leave per calendar year. Unlike other paid family and sick leave laws that have been enacted around the country, Maine's law would be the first law to allow employees to use earned paid leave for any purpose, including non-medical personal reasons." (Proskauer)
Victory for Fathers in a Parental Leave Case That Could Be a Harbinger
"[T]he JPMorgan Chase policy appeared to be gender-neutral on its face, offering 16 weeks of paid leave to primary caregivers and two weeks to other caregivers. But the lead plaintiff in the case ... contended that the company made it difficult for biological fathers to qualify as primary caregivers." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Father Wins Fight to Increase Parental Leave for Men at JPMorgan Chase
"The bank will pay $5 million to hundreds, possibly thousands, of men who filed for primary caregiver leave and were denied in the last seven years. Rotondo and his attorney said JPMorgan Chase changed its policy; the bank says its policy was always gender neutral, but said it has clarified its language." (National Public Radio [NPR])
Paid Family Leave in the United States (PDF)
19 pages. "This report provides an overview of paid family leave in the United States, summarizes state-level family leave insurance programs, notes PFL policies in other advanced-economy countries, and notes recent federal legislative action to increase access to paid family leave." [Report R44835, updated May 29, 2019] (Congressional Research Service [CRS])
[Guidance Overview] Get Ready for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
"All employers must provide written notice to covered individuals of their rights under the PFML by June 30, 2019 ... The notice may be in hardcopy or electronic form but employers must collect a signed acknowledgment of receipt.... (A covered individual may also refuse (in writing) to sign the acknowledgement.) Beginning July 1, 2019, employers must provide all new covered individuals with the notice (and obtain a signed acknowledgment of receipt) within 30 days of his or her start date." (Sullivan & Worcester)
New York City Council to Consider Expanding Earned Safe and Sick Time Act to Require 'Personal Time'
"The New York City Council is considering a bill that would expand the NYC Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA) to provide eligible employees with 'personal time' that could be used for any reason. The bill would also expand protections and remedies applicable to all leave under the law, including sick and safe time.... While the bill is still in the early stages of consideration and its future remains to be seen, Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed his support for paid personal leave." (Proskauer)
Supporting Employment Among Lower-Income Mothers: The Role of Paid Family Leave
"PFL provided time to arrange child care, recover from pregnancy and childbirth, bond with the baby and help him transition to nonparental care, and initiate and maintain breastfeeding. Mothers cited limitations to the program, but valued the time to care for their baby and plan their return to work." (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])
When Can You Terminate Health Coverage During FMLA?
"Retroactive termination can occur only if: [1] the employer has established policies regarding other forms of unpaid leave that provide for the employer to cease coverage retroactively to the date the unpaid premium payment was due, and [2] a notice was given to the employee at least 15 days before the end of the 30-day grace period." (Graydon)
[Opinion] American Benefits Council Comment Letter to Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave
"[We] urge the Department to provide a delay in the July 1, 2019, effective date of at least three months. We also urge the Department to consider good faith or other relief for employers during the first 12-18 months the contribution rules are in effect." (American Benefits Council)
Paid Leave Law in Maine Waits for Governor's Signature
"The bill would require Maine employers with 10 or more employees working for more than 120 hours in the calendar year to provide one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours an employee works, up to a maximum of 40 hours paid leave annually." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
Something Is Afoot at the DOL: Could New FMLA Regs or Forms Be on the Horizon?
"Taking the announcement at face value, it certainly appears to suggest that the DOL is interested in revisiting the regulations to determine the ongoing pain points for employers and employees and how regulatory changes could enhance FMLA administration.... Whether it's the scope of information an employer can obtain on a certification, the parameters of recertification and second opinions, or how employers can ensure intermittent leave is being used in the manner for which it was intended, there is plenty to clarify in these regulations!" (FMLA Insights)
FMLA Regs May Soon Get Revamped to Ease Employer Burdens
"[The DOL's] spring regulatory agenda ... contained a noteworthy entry calling for information to help revise the statute's regulations to help 'reduce administrative and compliance burdens on employers.' What do employers need to know about this impending development, and how might they influence this process to their benefit?" (Fisher Phillips)
[Guidance Overview] Common FMLA Mistakes: Not Understanding All of the Reasons for FMLA Due to a Qualifying Exigency
"FMLA leave for a qualifying exigency has many facets. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for a qualifying exigency while the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, or has been notified of such ... The FMLA regulations provide several examples of what constitutes a qualifying exigency[.]" (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
DOL Will Revisit FMLA Regs to Reduce Employer Compliance Burdens
"The [DOL] plans to issue a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comments from stakeholders on how it can improve its FMLA rules. The RFI, still in its pre-rule stage, is part of DOL's spring 2019 regulatory agenda; the agency said it's aiming to: [1] 'better protect and suit the needs of workers' and [2] 'reduce administrative and compliance burdens on employers.' " (HR Dive)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law: The Employer 'Private Plan' Exemption
"The benefits offered to employees by the approved plan must be greater than or equal to the benefits provided by MAPFML.... Self-insured plans must be bonded.... Fully-insured plans must be covered by policy issued by a Massachusetts licensed insurance company.... There are penalties for noncompliance.... Employer must maintain an 'adequate security deposit'.... Plan changes must be reported.... It doesn't get an employer out of everything.... Major plan updates are required.... The application process is tedious and an exemption must be renewed annually.... here are many questions about Q1 2019.... Is an exempt plan subject to ERISA? ... It may not save money.... Alternative Approaches." (Mintz)
U.S. District Court Highlights Job Reinstatement Obligations After FMLA Leave
"This decision highlights the importance of considering reinstatement obligations even after FMLA leave has expired and the perils of not reinstating an employee returning from FMLA leave to a position with similar responsibilities. The decision also emphasizes the importance of scrutinizing the elimination of a position when the employee who generally fills that position is on FMLA leave to ensure the elimination of that position is not merely a pretext for retaliation." [Ottley-Cousin v. MMC Holdings, Inc., No. 16-577 (E.D. N.Y. May 6, 2019)] (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] Non-Minneapolis Employers Must Comply with Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Law
"This significant ruling stretches Minneapolis-imposed requirements to non-Minneapolis employers, including -- in some instances -- requiring them to provide paid time off to their employees.... Employees may use the leave for their own, or a family member's, needs related to health, domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and school, daycare, and workplace closings. The ordinance also requires employers to track the accrual and use of leave time." [Minn. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Minneapolis, No. A18-0771 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 2019)] (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
Curbing FMLA Abuse in the Summertime
"If you do find social media pictures or other evidence of behavior that seems inconsistent with the leave, gather the photos and any other evidence you can of the suspected fraud. Then, bring the employee in for questioning, offering the employee an opportunity to provide a formal statement regarding his or her time on leave. Oftentimes, an employee ... will make false statements about what s/he has been up to. You can then terminate the employee for dishonesty rather than FMLA fraud, which is generally a better legal position to take." (Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Employers: Are You Ready for Paid Family and Medical Leave?
"Employers now have until June 30, 2019 ... to give written notice to workers concerning their rights under the new law. The notice may be provided electronically, but must include an opportunity for workers to acknowledge receipt.... Employers now have until September 20, 2019 ... to apply for an exemption from the withholding requirements if they offer a private plan that is at least as generous as the PFML's paid leave requirements. Employers must use the MassTaxConnect website to submit exemption applications." (Duane Morris LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Westchester County, New York to Require Paid Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence
"[E]mployees working in Westchester County for more than 90 days in a calendar year will be eligible to use up to 40 hours of paid leave per year for covered purposes relating to the employee being a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking ... Employees may recover the greater of $250 or three times the wages that should have been paid for each instance of undercompensated safe time taken, and $500 for each instance where employees have been unlawfully denied requested safe time." (Proskauer)
[Guidance Overview] Just as Its Earned Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect, Westchester County Enacts Another Paid Leave Law
"Beginning October 30, 2019, the Safe Time Leave Law will require employers within Westchester County [New York] to provide employees who are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking with to up to 40 hours of paid safe time leave (PSTL) per year. This paid leave benefit is in addition to any other paid leave to which an employee may be entitled ... [U]nlike the Earned Sick Leave Law, PSTL is not 'earned' or accrued; rather, a covered employee may use the maximum of 40 hours annually, regardless of how many hours he or she has worked." (Epstein Becker Green)
FMLA Leave: When Can Employers Prorate Bonus Payments?
"The key ... is treating FMLA absences and non-FMLA absences the same for goal-based bonus purposes.... The Second Circuit rejected Clemons's argument that the prorated bonus payment interfered with his rights under the FMLA. The court recognized that Moody's prorates payments under the incentive bonus program based on the length of an employee's leave, regardless of the reason for the leave. " [Clemens v. Moody's Analytics, Inc., No. 18-1283 (2d Cir. May 3, 2019)] (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] Updated Employer Deadlines Under the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Law
"Employers must provide notice to their current workforces about the PFML on or before June 30, 2019.... Employers wishing to obtain [an] exemption in time for first quarter contributions must submit an approved plan application by September 20, 2019 ... October 31, 2019: Employers must file their first quarterly report and remit required contributions for the previous calendar quarter ... January 1, 2021: Paid family leave benefits will be available to covered individuals ... July 1, 2021: ... [P]aid family leave benefits will be available to covered individuals to care for a family member with a serious health condition." (Winston & Strawn LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Paid Leave Update: Approved Private Plan Exemption Need Not Provide Benefits Until January 2021
"The deadline to file a private plan exemption has been moved from June 30 to September 20, 2019, to allow additional time for employers to examine available insurance options. Employers that receive an approval of their private plan will not be required to remit quarterly contributions to the state trust fund. Now, with the Department's additional clarification, employers need not consider the cost of immediately implementing a generous private plan when deciding the benefits of a private plan exemption." (Littler)
Elder Care Benefits: A Growing Need for the U.S. Workforce
"Many employers currently offer an employee assistance program (EAP) which provides employees and household members with educational and referral services for elder care.... Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAP) ... allow employees to set aside tax-free dollars for qualified elder care.... Backup elder care benefits ... can also be incredibly useful to employees.... New vendors are also entering the marketplace[.]" (Voya)
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