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Paid leave benefits are a hot topic these days. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued an updated report on states that have Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) programs and how they work.

Federal FMLA and Unpaid Leave

We all know that the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide unpaid leave under certain circumstances. That leave is unpaid and only applies if you have 50 or more employees and the employee works at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

What if you have a number of remote workers (who are working out of their homes) or you do not have 50 total employees? Even though you may not have any obligations under the FMLA, you still need to check state laws.

States with PFML Programs

Some states have PFML programs for employees in certain circumstances. According to the CRS report, seven states — California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia, have some sort of state-run PFML. Those programs are typically funded by payroll taxes and can look a lot like unemployment benefits. The CRS report also mentions that four more states — Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, and Oregon — are about to implement such programs.

If you have employees in any of these jurisdictions, you should make sure you are aware of these programs and how they work. If your employee is covered by one of these PFML programs, you need to check your obligations on contributions, payroll withholding, and reinstatement rights.