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Paid Family Leave and Other Benefits

Paid Family Leave and Other Benefits
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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a United States labor law that provides job-protected, unpaid leave for employees for qualified medical and family reasons.

If an employee has an event that qualifies for leave under both FMLA and Paid Family Leave, and the employer is covered under both laws, the employer can require them to run concurrently. In order for the two types of leaves to run together, the employer must notify the employee that the leave qualifies for both FMLA and Paid Family Leave, and that it will be designated as such.

 

How is Paid Family Leave (PFL) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) different?
  PFL FMLA
Benefits PAID UNPAID
Coverage
  • Most private employers
  • Public employers may opt in
  • One or more employees
  • Public and private employers
  • 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius
Eligibility
  • After 26 consecutive weeks of employment if regularly working 20 or more hours per week
  • After 175 days worked if regularly working less than 20 hours per week
  • 12 months of employment
  • 1,250 hours of work in the 12-month period preceding leave
Reason for Leave
  • Employees cannot use for own serious health condition
  • Can be used to care for a child of any age
  • Employee can use for own serious health condition
  • Can only be used to care for a child if the child is under 18 years old, or “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability”
Length of Leave
  • Only in full-day increments
  • Hourly basis

Paid Time Off
  • Employers cannot require employees use paid time off while on PFL
  • Employers can compel an employee to use paid time off while on FMLA

Short-term Disability

Employees with an injury or illness not related to their job may be eligible for short-term disability benefits. Paid Family Leave does not replace disability benefits coverage.


After giving birth, new mothers may be eligible for both short-term disability benefits and Paid Family Leave. While the two benefits cannot be taken at the same time, eligible employees can choose how they can use both benefits to support the needs of their families.

For example, if a new mother qualifies for short-term disability after giving birth, she can choose to:

  • Immediately take all or any portion of her available short-term disability weeks and then take Paid Family Leave at any time within the first 12 months; or,
  • Take Paid Family Leave immediately, without taking any short-term disability.

There may be other times when an employee needs to use both short-term disability and Paid Family Leave in the same year for different qualifying events. In all cases, employees cannot take more than 26 weeks of combined short-term disability and Paid Family Leave benefits in a 52-week period.

If an employee plans to use both short-term disability and Paid Family Leave, the employee must complete a separate request for each. These are separate benefits, which cannot be taken at the same time, and require separate documentation from the employee and employer.

For more information on short-term disability benefits, visit the Workers’ Compensation Board website.

 

Workers’ Compensation

Workers' compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.

If employees are collecting workers’ compensation for a total disability, they cannot take Paid Family Leave. If they are on a reduced earnings schedule, they may still be eligible for Paid Family Leave.

Maternity Leave/Paternity Leave

It is up to the employer to determine how Paid Family Leave works with their other parental leave policies.

If the employee and spouse have different employers, they are both eligible to take Paid Family Leave at the same time. Spouses with the same employer who want to take Paid Family Leave at the same time to bond with the same child, care for the same family member, or assist loved ones for the same family member deployed abroad on military service may take Paid Family Leave at the same time unless their employer objects. An employer cannot prohibit an employee and their spouse from taking Paid Family Leave at different times.

Sick and or Vacation Time

An employee can only choose to use paid time off during Paid Family Leave if the employer allows it. Taking paid time off at the same time as Paid Family Leave may allow the employee to receive their full salary for all or part of the leave. However, an employee cannot receive more than their full wages while receiving Paid Family Leave benefits.

Paid time off would be covered by the same rights and protections afforded to employees under the Paid Family Leave Law, including the right to keep health insurance and the right to be reinstated to the same job (or a comparable one) when the employee returns from leave.

Accruing paid time off while on Paid Family Leave depends on the employer’s policy. Employee's should clarify with their employer on whether they allow employees to continue to accrue leave while out on Paid Family Leave. 

Unapproved Leave

Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave. An employee must submit their completed request for Paid Family Leave within 30 days of the start of their leave to avoid losing benefits. Until an employee's Paid Family Leave is approved by insurance carrier, the employee is not considered to be on Paid Family Leave, and it will be up to the employer to determine how to treat the time off.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own

When employees are on Paid Family Leave (or vacation or any other paid leave), they are not entitled to unemployment insurance benefits because they are still employed (even if not required to perform work) and because they are not available for work.​

Contact PFL Helpline

For more information, call the Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm EST.

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