2024 Paid Leave Trends
2023 brought continued developments in the laws impacting employee leaves of absence. States continue to pass new laws, expand existing programs, and explore alternative models to provide paid and unpaid leave benefits to workers. In the fight to recruit and retain an increasingly mobile and diverse workforce, it’s essential to understand the impact of these laws. As we close out the year, let's review 2023 paid leave activity, and preview what may come in 2024.
States Continue to Enact Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Programs
By the end of 2026, the following states will have joined the trend:
Colorado PFML contributions began January 1, 2023 for benefits beginning January 1, 2024. The state is now preparing to fully implement its Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. Employers continue to remit payroll deductions and submit quarterly wage reports. Private employers may be eligible for a refund of premiums paid, if they apply and receive approval to offer a private plan by the January 1, 2024 effective date.
Legislators amended Maryland’s Time to Care Act in 2023. Contributions to the FAMLI fund will now begin October 1, 2024, with benefit payments scheduled to begin January 1, 2026. The amendment set the contribution ratio for qualifying employers. Employees and employers will share equally (50/50) in contributions. Those contributions are capped at 1.2% of covered wages. Employees are no longer required to use all their employer-provided paid leave before receiving benefits. This includes the use of paid sick leave, paid vacation or other paid time off. They can agree to use accrued paid leave to receive up to 100% of average weekly wages.
Delaware continues to work towards full implementation of the Healthy Delaware Families Act. Key dates include:
- October 1, 2023 to January 1, 2024
- The portal is scheduled to open for employers to extend existing paid time off benefits.
- Smaller employers may request reduced parental leave duration at this time.
- September 1, 2024 to December 1, 2024
- The application process is scheduled to open for employers opting-out to use a private plan.
- Small employers may opt-in to the state program.
To download the full timeline, visit americanfidelity.com/pages/leave/de.
In 2023, Maine became the most recent state to establish a paid family and medical leave program. Beginning in 2026, eligible workers will have 12 weeks of paid time off available.
Minnesota’s PFML bill will provide employees up to 20 weeks of PFML beginning January 1, 2026. The program is funded by employers and employees through payroll deductions.
Paid Leave Trends to Watch
- Paid Leave for “Any Reason”
In 2019, Maine and Nevada became the first states to require private employers to provide paid leave for any reason. On January 1, 2024, Illinois will join this list. Private IL employers must offer five days paid time off for any reason. Employees in IL must complete a 90-day probation period to qualify.
- Expansion of Paid Sick Leave
Beginning January 1, 2024, notable changes to California’s existing paid sick leave law take effect. This includes an increase to the annual paid sick leave limits. Employers providing sick leave or other paid leave upfront, must provide five days (40 hours). This is an increase from the three days (24 hours) previously required. Employers providing sick leave or other paid leave on accrual basis must increase the overall accrual amount. Employees can now accrue up to 10 days or 80 hours, up from six days (48 hours).
Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Minnesota's earned sick and safe time law requires employers to provide paid leave to employees who work in the state.
- Voluntary Paid Family Leave Insurance
States continue to consider offering voluntary paid family leave (PFL) insurance policies. In these states, insurance carriers can offer an approved PFL product to employers and employees. Currently, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia allow this type of coverage. More states may follow.
Cities, Counties and Other Localities
Beyond the state level, local jurisdictions continue creating new paid time off requirements. Employers now must synchronize state-level paid leave laws with these local mandates. Types of leave adopted by localities may include:
- Paid sick leave
- Paid leave for any purpose
- Safe leave
- Military leave
Paid Maternity/Parental Leave for Educators
In Arkansas, school districts can choose to offer paid maternity leave. The state provides 50% funding for up to twelve (12) weeks of approved leave per eligible employee. The district or charter school determines the number of weeks offered. They also decide whether to provide full or partial compensation during the leave. To participate, districts must enter into a cost-sharing agreement with the state.
New rules adopted in North Carolina give teachers up to two months of paid parental leave after having a new child. Mothers who give birth may receive up to 8 weeks. Non-birthing parents or those who become a parent through adoption or legal placement receive four weeks.
Full-time employees of the state can now receive six weeks of paid maternity leave for following the birth or adoption of a child. Employees must have worked for the state for at least two years to qualify. In addition, six weeks of paid maternity leave is now available to teachers and certain qualifying school employees. They must have worked for a public school district for at least one year.
Six weeks of paid maternity leave, or two weeks of paid parental leave, is now available to school district employees. To qualify, employees must occupy all or part of a full-time equivalent position.
Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, Tennessee provides up to six weeks of paid parental leave. Teachers and qualifying school staff may take leave following the birth, adoption, or stillbirth of a child. The leave is available to both birthing and non-birthing parents.
Time Off for Pregnancy Loss
Another trending leave benefit is time off for the loss of a pregnancy. Such compassionate leave policies allow employees to take paid time off for situations such as a miscarriage. A growing number of state and local jurisdictions are joining private employers in offering this type of paid leave benefit.
American Fidelity is a leading insurance and services provider specializing in providing benefits communication and guidance navigating current impacts to benefit programs. We will continue to monitor and communicate developments related to federal and state PFML. This information is intended to be educational in nature, and employers should consult their own counsel for tax or legal advice. This page and all downloadable items are up to date as of November 2023 and have not been updated for changes in the law, administration, or current events.
This blog is up to date as of November 2023 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.