Paid Leave Laws Are Growing Across States


Many states have or are currently implementing comprehensive paid family and medical leave (PFML) programs.  Depending on where you live, organizations may be required to implement some type of paid leave program. How can you keep up?

What is PFML? 

PFML may be offered at the federal, state, or local level. It generally provides paid leave benefits for qualifying family or medical purposes. It often includes time off to: 

  • Care for themselves while recovering from an illness or injury
  • Bond with a new child
  • Support a family member with a serious medical condition
  • Care for or support a military service member
  • Seek assistance or take other safety measures in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking


Soldier with her child

What's the difference between PFML and FMLA? 

FMLA vs PFML Comparison Chart


It's important to understand the differences with state programs and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The biggest difference is one provides paid leave while the other doesn’t. FMLA provides employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualifying reasons. PFML refers to state, local or other laws that provide paid leave. 

Download our chart to learn how they compare. 

View Your State 



Set to Comply?


While you're watching to see what legislation moves in to your state, you can be examining current leave patterns and looking in depth at your employee demographics. Think about which employees are most likely to use paid family or medical leave benefits. Consider how a state program might impact existing leave programs in your organization, including sick leave banks or other donation mechanisms. 


PFML May Be Coming to Your State: What Employers Need to Know

Is Your Leave Program Compliant? 

What to Do: Administering Paid and Unpaid Leave Correctly 


Administering leaves of absence correctly is one of the biggest fiscal and operational challenges employers face. The addition of new paid leave laws across the country has highlighted the need to make sure your leave program is compliant.

Download our checklist to see how your program shapes up.

  • The biggest difference is one provides paid leave while the other doesn’t. FMLA refers to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, a federal law that provides employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualifying reasons. PFML refers to state, local or other laws that provide paid leave or some level of income replacement for situations similar to those also covered under FMLA.

  • Integration or coordination with other benefits may be possible, and can vary depending on the specific PFML program and the terms of the other benefits.

  • PFML benefit periods may vary and are dependent on a variety of factors within each federal, state, or local program. 

  • Typically, employees are eligible for the leave based on where that person is working, even if the employer is located elsewhere. 

  • Make sure to keep track of key facts, such as state regulatory updates, and key dates, such as implementation of premium deductions. If you are an employer, you need to be prepared to answer the questions your employees may have. It is important for you to know who is eligible, if there will be payroll deductions, and if job protection will be available. Sign up for legislative updates

  • Yes. PFML and FMLA are separate laws. PFML may be enacted on the state or local level while FMLA is mandated federally, but both laws must be followed. The benefits under FMLA and PFML each have a maximum benefit period. In many cases, the time runs concurrently, but closely review the rules that apply to you. 

  • Employers may offer disability insurance concurrently with PFML. Benefits are paid based on local or state-specific details. See your state to learn more. 

  • Not all PFML programs provide job protection. Currently, California, District of Columbia, New York, and Rhode Island do not provide job protection within the paid leave statute itself, but other laws (including the FMLA and state-law equivalents) provide employees with reinstatement rights. It is important to understand how these laws work together to protect employees when they return to work. 

American Fidelity is a leading insurance and services provider focused on select industries. We specialize in providing benefits communication and helping professionals navigate regulatory impacts to benefit programs in our niche markets. We will continue to monitor and communicate developments related to federal and state PFML.