Overview – Federal Vs. State
The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to care for a newborn, adopted or foster child, or to care for a family member, or to attend to the employee’s own serious medical health condition. The law applies to private employers with 50 or more employees. The FMLA also allows states to set standards that are more expansive than the federal law and many states have chosen to do so.
The main difference between federal and state FMLA laws is whether leave is paid or unpaid. Federal FMLA is unpaid, while many state-mandated leave plans are paid and, in most cases, require payroll deductions and/or employer contributions to fund the plan. Since the first Paid Family Leave legislation passed in California back in 2004, there’s been an evolution of how these paid family leaves are structured. Beginning with family and medical leaves tied to employee/employer-funded insurance, onto joint funded contributions separated from insurance, and moving forward past 2020, states enacting accrued leaves that can be used for any reason.
Each state with state-mandated paid leave sets their own rules about:
- Reasons for paid leave
- Who is considered a family member
- How long employees can take paid leave
- Which employees qualify for leave
- How the plan is funded, included contribution amounts
- Whether employees, employers, or both contribute
- Paid family leave benefit amount
- Employee notification requirements
- Record retention requirements
States with Paid Family Leave Insurance
- California (effective July 2004)
- New Jersey (effective January 2009)
- New York (effective January 2018)
- Rhode Island (effective January 2014)
These states tie their family leave with employee-funded medical leave and disability insurance contributions.
States with Leave for Any Reason (accrued time)
These states tie their family leave to accruals, similar to sick leave. The leave can be used for reasons outside of family or medical leave and may have no restrictions on when leave can be used.
States with Paid Family Leave (standard payroll deductions)
- Connecticut (effective January 2021)
- C. (effective July 2019)
- Massachusetts (effective October 2019)
- Oregon (effective January 2022)
- Washington (effective January 2019)
These states fund their family leave through payroll contributions by either the employee, employer or both. They are not tied to any state disability insurance or coverages.
Standard Avionté State Leave Payroll Deductions
Avionté utilizes Vertex tax technology to provide tax rate updates to the Avionte application. As locations in the US adjust tax codes and rates, Vertex sends updates for the Avionté application which are, in turn, deployed to hosted Avionté clients each month.
The Avionté provided update contains any additions, discontinuations, adjustments, and/or fixes for issues related to tax processing and geocode options discovered by Vertex. Monthly releases located on the Knowledge Base, here.
The following 2019 State Family Leave program contributions are included in Vertex updates and currently supported by Avionté:
District of Columbia (D.C) – Paid Family Leave
Employer-funded only. Employers must pay 0.62% of each employee’s wages.
Employees can begin taking paid leave starting in July 2020 to:
- Bond with a new child (up to eight weeks)
- Care for an ill family member with a serious health condition (up to six weeks)
- Deal with their own serious health condition (up to two weeks)
Reporting requirements: Employers are required to submit the same wage information for their employees that they currently submit in the UC-30. Employers will submit this information on the same reporting schedule and online portal as they currently do for UI.
For more information about the D.C. state family leave program, check Washington D.C.’s website.
Massachusetts – Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML)
Massachusetts PFML is an employee & employer program. All employees and employers with 25 or more employees must contribute to the MA PFML.
- Total Employee tax rate: .318% = Medical 40% of .52% (.208%) + Family leave 100% of .11% (.11%)
- Total Employer tax rate: .312% = Medical 60% of .52% (.312%)
- The total contribution rate of .63% is due on wages up to the base limit established annually by the Social Security Administration. For 2019 the limit is $132,900.00.
Contributions to PFML begin on October 1, 2019. In 2021, employees can begin taking benefits. Massachusetts’ program provides up to 12 weeks of paid family, 20 weeks of paid medical, or up to 26 weeks of paid care for a service family member leave. Employees can take paid leave to:
- Deal with a serious medical condition
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Bond with a child or adopted child during the first 12 months after birth or adoption
- Deal with a family member being on active duty
Reporting requirements: Filing multiple Paid Family & Medical Leave returns and/or debit payments electronically will be submitted through MassTaxConnect. This will allow businesses to submit bulk files securely over the Internet to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
On 6/10/2019, the MA Department of Revenue released a draft outlining the bulk filing requirements for employers, however, a final version has not yet been released. Once a finalized version of the filing requirements is released, Avionté will create a Paid Family & Medical Leave export file for reporting, similar to our Washington State Weekly process export.
For more information about the MA PFML program, check Massachusetts' website.
Washington State Paid Family & Medical Leave
If you’re a Washington employer, you must withhold the Washington Paid Family Leave premium from employee wages. If you have 50 or more employees, you must also contribute an employer portion.
For 2019, the premium is a flat rate of 0.4% of an employee’s wages. This the combined total of both employee and employer portions.
- Medical Leave Employer: Medical Leave: 55% of 2/3 of the total rate.
- Family Leave Employee: 100% of 1/3 of the total rate.
- Medical Leave Employee: 45% of 2/3 of the total rate.
- Washington’s PFL wage base is the same as the Social Security wage base, which is $132,900 in 2019.
Employees can access PFL benefits in 2020, after working 820 hours. Employees can take up to 12 weeks of paid time off if they:
- Have a baby or adopt
- Become ill or injured off the job
- Need to care for an ill or injured family member.
Reporting Requirements: A Washington - Paid Family & Medical Leave - Wage Report export has been added to the Weekly Process section. Users can be granted permission to this export via Desktop Application > Admin Tools > System > Report > Advanced Query > User.
To run this export from the Desktop Application:
- Click on Weekly Process
- Click Export/Import right side tab
- Select feed Washington - Paid Family & Medical Leave - Wage
For more information about the WA PFL program, check the Washington State website.
For general questions about Paid Family Leave and prior to acting on any information shared by Avionté, we encourage all clients to discuss the information contained in this article with legal counsel. The information shared here should not be construed as legal or professional tax advice.
Compliance Questions or Suggestions? Email us at Compliance@avionte.com