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 went into effect on January 1, 2023.
This unique voluntary program is the first in the nation and provides New Hampshire employees with family medical leave insurance (FMLI). New Hampshire employers may choose to opt into this program, which offers workers a 60% wage replacement for up to six or 12 weeks of work per year if they take time off for qualifying personal health or family reasons.
Now that the New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave (NH PFML) program has officially launched, we’re sharing the latest updates and guidance for employers and employees below.
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 family member with a serious health condition.
- Care of a spouse, child, parent, or next of kin who is in the military and has a serious injury or illness.
- A serious personal health condition independent of employment (if disability insurance doesn’t apply, including childbirth).
What does the NH PFML insurance plan include?
When employers enroll in NH PFML, their employees have access to:
- Paid Family and Paid Medical Leave under one insurance policy
- 60% wage replacement benefits up to the Social Security wage cap for eligible reasons (see above)
- The option to take leave all at once (consecutively) or in partial days (intermittently) with a minimum of 4-hour increments
Employers can choose to offer either six or 12 weeks of paid leave.
What Employers Need to Know About the NH Paid Family and Medical Leave Plan
Who can participate?
NH PFML benefits are available to all NH employers and employees through MetLife, the state’s PFML insurance partner.
Employers must be located in New Hampshire to be eligible for this voluntary paid leave program. The plan does not cover workers in other states—employees must be designated as working for an NH employer and report wages to NH for unemployment purposes to qualify.
How much does NH PFML insurance cost employers?
NH employers can get a quote by using the MetLife quote calculator. This tool allows you to customize your NH PFML plan based on your business needs while accounting for state regulations.
How do I enroll in a group plan?
Employers can enroll in an NH PFML insurance plan at any time. You can begin the process by requesting a quote from MetLife:
- Contact a licensed agent, broker, or consultant who is appointed with MetLife to sell NH Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance.
- Use MetLife’s Quote Calculator for employers to explore your PFML plan options and connect with MetLife. You’ll need to complete their workforce census form to get your quote.
- Contact the MetLife Customer Solution Center at 1-866-595-7365 for your next steps.
While you have the option to purchase NH PFML through your current insurance company, you will NOT be eligible for the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) Credit if you do so. Only employers who buy from MetLife will qualify for the BET Credit.
What are my obligations as an employer if I opt into an NH PFML plan?
Employers have specific requirements and options when it comes to administering NH PFML benefits to employees.
- Employers with more than 50 employees who elect to participate must make premium contributions available to employees through payroll deduction. This requirement applies whether the employer sets up an NH PFML group plan or if workers purchase individual coverage.
- Employers of 50 or fewer employees have the option to offer payroll deductions.
- All employers may entirely or partially cover the employees’ costs. If you cover 100% of your employees’ premiums, you do not have to take payroll deductions.
Employers who opt into the program must also provide heightened employment protections, namely:
- Continuation of health insurance coverage during leave
- Protection from discrimination and retaliation for using the leave
- Restoring workers to their position prior to leave or an equivalent role (only applicable to employers with 50 or more employees)
What is the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) Credit?
As mentioned above, when you purchase NH PFML insurance through MetLife, you qualify for a BET Credit equal to 50% of the six-week premium you pay. You’ll need to submit the most recent Schedule of Business Profits Tax (BPT) Credit (form DP-160) to the NH Department of Revenue Administration to claim your credit.
The 50% credit applies only to the portion employers pay to MetLife. It does not apply to worker-paid premiums. If you pass on the full cost to your employees, you will not qualify for the BET Credit as you’re not contributing to the premium.
Individual Worker Enrollment
What if my employer does not participate?
If your New Hampshire employer does not opt into the program, you may choose to participate independently during a 60-day annual open-enrollment window. Open enrollment for the 2024 NH PFML individual plan runs from December 1, 2023, through January 29, 2024.
Is there a waiting period?
Yes, the individual PFML plan requires a seven-month waiting period before employees can use the benefits. There is also a one-week unpaid elimination period before receiving benefit payments.
What does the individual plan include?
The individual NH PFML plan includes all the same benefits of the employer group plan. Weekly premiums will be capped at $5 per employee.
What is the benefit to employers?
The NH PFML program’s affordable premiums make it feasible for many small and mid-sized employers who don’t offer paid family leave benefits due to cost. By offering this benefit, employers will:
- Help ease their team members’ stress during a health crisis or care need
- Decrease turnover and increase employee retention
- Boost morale and productivity as employees can worry less
Between its cost-effectiveness and the tax incentive, the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan aims to help employers and workers. It’s a small investment that can have powerful results!
If you’re a New Hampshire employer with questions about enrolling in NH PFML insurance, contact BlueLion at email@example.com or 603-818-4131 for the next steps and guidance today!
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.
This article was originally published in December 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.