In exciting news for both employers and employees, New Hampshire joined a growing list of states and Washington, D.C., when Governor Chris Sununu signed the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan into law on June 25, 2021. The law states that coverage must be provided by January 1, 2023.
This unique voluntary program provides New Hampshire employees with family medical leave insurance (FMLI). Under it, workers will receive 60% wage replacement for up to six weeks of work per year if they take time off for qualifying personal health or family reasons.
The FMLI will be provided cost-free to all state government employees. They will serve as the risk pool for the program (i.e., the group that determines the insurance premium costs). All other New Hampshire employers may voluntarily opt into the program.
Of course, there are still many questions about the program and precisely how it will work. BlueLion will continue sharing updates as information is released and the details become clearer, so be sure to check our blog and social media channels regularly!
Read below for everything we know so far.
What are the eligible reasons?
Granite State workers can use the voluntary paid leave program for:
- The birth of a child or care of a newborn child for the first year.
- Care of newly adopted or fostered children within the first year.
- Care of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.
- Care of a spouse, child, or parent who is in the military.
- A serious personal health condition independent of employment (if the employer does not offer short-term disability insurance).
Note that the medical leave option is not available to state employees.
Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan Participation
Who can participate?
FMLI benefits will be available to employees of participating employers.
How will premiums be determined?
Private and public non-government employers will receive a premium rate calculated from the state’s premium cost.
How will employees pay for FMLI?
Employers have specific requirements and options when it comes to administering FMLI benefits to employees.
- Employers with more than 50 employees who elect to participate must make premium contributions available to employees through payroll deduction.
- Employers of 50 or fewer employees have the option to offer payroll deductions.
- All employers may entirely or partially cover the employees’ cost.
What else are employers responsible for?
Employers who opt into the program must also provide heightened employment protections, namely:
- Continuation of health insurance coverage during leave, and
- Protection from discrimination and retaliation for using the leave
What if my employer does not participate?
If your New Hampshire employer does not opt into or qualify to participate in the program, you may choose to participate independently. There will be a purchasing pool during a 60-day annual open-enrollment window determined by the Department of Administrative Services. According to the legislation, this pool:
- May be experience-rated,
- Includes a seven-month waiting period before employees can use the benefits, and
- Includes a one-week elimination period before receiving benefit payments.
Weekly premiums will be capped at $5 per employee.
What is the benefit to employers?
A larger risk group (i.e., state government employees) also means lower premiums, making it more affordable for many small and mid-sized employers who don’t offer paid family leave benefits due to cost.
Not to mention, New Hampshire employers who participate in the FMLI are eligible for a tax credit that will cover 50% of the premium paid in the taxable period. Between the affordability and tax incentive, the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan aims to help employers and workers.
Again, details are still developing regarding the new FMLI program, but we will share updates as soon as we have them. In the meantime, contact BlueLion at email@example.com or 603-818-4131 for advice on what employers should beware of as they prepare for the plan to go into effect in 2023.
The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.