5 LAYERS VS 5 DAYS - FMLA PROCEDURES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE IN THE GOLDEN STATE

Posted On March 03, 2021  

by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Vice President, Product Compliance

March 02, 2021

 

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that an operator of 2 California airports must make major changes to its FMLA processes after trampling on employee rights for I don’t know how long.  And I mean trampling! 

I will be the first to admit that the Family and Medical Leave Act has many challenging and gray areas.  (I call it job security.)  The fluctuating workweek rule, anyone? How about applying in loco parentis?  But here are a couple of rules that are crystal clear:  (1) the employer must send notice to an employee of his or her FMLA eligibility (or lack thereof) within 5 business days after the employee requests time off that might be FMLA-covered; and (2) the employer must send a designation notice – that is, approve or deny the requested leave – to the employee within 5 business days after receiving sufficient information to determine whether the leave is being taken for an FMLA-qualifying reason (e.g., after receiving a completed medical certification from the employee’s health care provider). 

5 layers of administrative process.  It seems that Los Angeles World Airports – owner and operator of Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports – didn’t get the memo.  Apparently LA World Airports had a process whereby employee FMLA requests went through 5 (that’s five!) levels of administrative review before reaching human resources.  That process typically took a month, with some requests pending for months.  Although not addressed, that probably means that LA World Airports didn’t send the FMLA-required notice of rights and responsibilities to employees within 5 days of a leave request either, since that notice is supposed to go out with the eligibility notice.

So-called second opinions?  According to the DOL, the employer also “improperly relied on second opinions from an in-house physician” and as a consequence, denied employee leave requests.  This is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.  First, the FMLA regulations provide a second opinion can be required if the employer has reason to doubt the validity of the employee’s certification.  This means the employer must have a good reason to question the validity of the certification. Examples may include receiving a certification from a provider in the wrong medical specialty for the employee’s condition, or advocating for an excessively long or frequent leave for the employee’s condition.  The employee is provisionally entitled to the requested leave (and maintenance of group health benefits) pending receipt of the second (or third) medical opinion. 

Next, although the second opinion is to be furnished by a health care provider of the employer’s choice (and at the employer’s cost), the selected provider cannot be employed by the employer on a regular basis or one with whom the employer regularly contracts or whose services the employer otherwise regularly uses.   The single exception is if the employer is located in an area where access to health care is extremely limited.  Methinks that is unlikely the case in the vicinity of LAX and the Van Nuys airport.

Finally, if the opinions of the employee’s health care provider and the second opinion provider differ, the employer must afford the employee the opportunity for an opinion from a third provider selected jointly.  Although the regulations don’t elaborate, it seems the employer’s other option is to follow the opinion of the employee’s provider.  I think it’s a safe bet that neither of these things occurred in LA World’s FMLA process.

The consequences.  As a result of the DOL’s investigation, LA World:

  • Redesigned its system to include a new web-based tool that provides workers updates and approvals within 24 hours, instead of months;
  • No longer routinely requires second opinions from health care providers;
  • Created a reference guide for leave specialists;
  • Scheduled joint training sessions with the Wage and Hour Division; and
  • Removed all adverse actions against employees caused by prior leave policies that violated the FMLA.

You can view the DOL’s news release here.

Matrix can help!  Maybe you already know this, but Matrix provides leave of absence administration services for the employees of our client employers (surprised?).  That includes both federal laws like the FMLA, but also state leave of absence laws and company leave policies.  With Matrix’s automated systems and trained, experienced claims examiners, we routinely send out those eligibility, rights and responsibilities, and designation notices in fewer than the required 5 days.  And for those difficult situations where there’s something suspect about the employee’s medical certification, we have a robust process for properly identifying whether there is reason to question the validity of the certification and, if so, to properly obtain a second and/or third medical certification to manage the employee’s leave.

 

For assistance or if you have questions, contact your Matrix or Reliance Standard account manager or practice leader, or send a message to us at ping@matrixcos.com.

UPDATES: SUPER BOWL LV AND NEW YORK COVID-RELATED PAID SICK LEAVE

Posted On February 09, 2021  

by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Vice President, Product Compliance

February 09, 2021

 

Here’s a riddle for you:What do Super Bowl LV and COVID have in common?  I’m not sure – though if you’re a Chiefs fan I suppose both can seem like an unthinkable, undeserved cosmic spanking.

Ah yes, the Super Bowl in COVID times: long gone are the raucous parties with lots of queso, Buffalo wings, yelling, and the adult beverages of your choice. They were replaced in 2021 with quiet gatherings of “safe” family or friend pods, maybe a beer or two, but it wasn’t quite the same, was it?  Maybe next year.

Meanwhile, here at Matrix we continue to keep an eye on all things COVID with regard to leave of absence.  So here we go  . . .

New York Paid Sick Leave.  The state of New York was an early and strong adopter of mandatory paid sick leave for employees for COVID-related quarantines.  (Drives me nuts that they labeled it “sick” leave when it is only for mandatory quarantines!)  Most New York employers must provide paid time off when the employee or the employee’s child is subject to a COVID-19-related mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state or an appropriate governmental agency.  The amount of paid sick leave required – 0, 5, or 14 calendar days – is determined by the employer’s size and net annual income.  We reported on the New York law in detail here if you want a refresher.

The Commissioner for New York’s Department of Labor recently issued a new Guidance on Use of COVID-19 Sick Leave. The Guidance specifically addresses the use of such leave when an employee still tests positive for COVID-19 after an initial period of mandatory quarantine or isolation.  The Guidance supplements prior guidance, all of which remains in effect.  You can check out the state’s COVID-19 website New Paid Leave for COVID-19 | Paid Family Leave (ny.gov) for more info.  Here are the key points of the new Guidance:

Consequences of a positive test after mandatory quarantine or isolation.  According to the Guidance, an employee who returns to work following a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation does not need to be tested before returning to work, except for nursing home staff.  But if the employee does get a test – either after returning to work or at the end of a period quarantine prior to returning to work – and that test is positive, then the employee cannot continue working or return to work yet.  In this case the employee is deemed to be subject to a required mandatory order of isolation (apparently, a de facto continuation of the order that took the employee off work in the first place) and is entitled to paid sick leave under the New York law even if he or she received paid leave during the first period of quarantine/isolation.

To be entitled to such paid sick leave during the 2nd (or a 3rd) period of quarantine the employee must provide documentation from a medical provider or testing facility verifying that the employee tested positive (unless the employer gave the test).  An employee may qualify for paid sick leave for a maximum of 3 periods of quarantine or isolation – the initial period due to the original order followed by up to 2 more periods supported by a verified positive test. 

Employer mandate to stay off work.  If an employee who is not subject to a qualifying order of quarantine or isolation is directed by the employer to stay off work due to actual or potential exposure to COVID-19, the employer must pay the employee his/her full pay until either the employer allows the employee to return to work or the employee becomes subject to such an order. 

Although the Guidance does not specify, it would appear that this paid time period does not count toward the employer’s obligation to provide quarantine pay under the New York law. This makes a certain amount of sense since that obligation only kicks in once the employee is subject to an official order.

If the employee does become subject to a qualifying order after being excluded from the workplace by the employer, the employee is then entitled to paid sick leave pursuant to the New York law.  

Matrix observations.  There are still unanswered questions.  The Guidance was issue on January 20, 2021, is not an actual amendment of the law, and does not specify an effective date.  As a result, it is unclear whether it is applicable to leave situations since the law went into effect on March 18, 2020, but prior to the Guidance.  Entitling employees to up to 3 periods of quarantine pay is certainly a new interpretation. 

In addition, the Guidance does not specify whether the multiple periods of pay during quarantine must be successive with no break in between.  This may not be required, as the Guidance states:

An employee who returns to work following a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation . . .  who subsequently receives a positive diagnostic test result for COVID- 19 . . .  shall be deemed to be subject to a mandatory order of isolation.

However, the tenor of the Guidance does seem to imply that the multiple periods of paid quarantine must be related to a single exposure because the paid leave entitlement for the 2nd and 3rd periods rests on a positive test that acts as an extension, so to speak, of the actual order.   

Matrix can help!  Just keep watching this space.  Just like Tom Brady, COVID is still a “thing” and we will keep you up to date on major leave of absence and accommodation developments as they happen.  For now, please wear your mask and get that vaccination when you can!

CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS, LOOK OUT!! POSSIBLE DUTY TO ACCOMMODATE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE “ASSOCIATED WITH” AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A DISABILITY

Posted On January 29, 2021  

by Gail Cohen, Esq. - Director, Employment Law And Compliance

January 29, 2021

 

Associational discrimination?  What’s that, you ask?  It may soon be critical for California employers to understand this concept.

Little-known and even less understood provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), protect employees who have family members (or other close individuals) with disabilities.  The association provision of both laws prohibits employment discrimination against a person because of his or her known relationship or association with a person with a known disability.  This means that an employer is prohibited from making adverse employment decisions based on unfounded concerns about the known disability of a family member or anyone else with whom the employee has a relationship or association.  For example, an employer cannot terminate an employee because her husband or best friend or roommate or . . .  has been diagnosed with cancer and the employer is concerned the employee will miss time from work to care for that person. However, the ADA does not require employers to provide accommodations to employees based on their association with a disabled person.

Enter California.  Our readers may recall that in November 2016 a California court interpreted FEHA to include a requirement that employers engage in interactive discussions and consider reasonable accommodations for employees who do not themselves have a disability, but are seeking accommodation(s) so they can assist a disabled person with whom they are “associated”.  In Castro Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., the California Court of Appeals initially ruled that an employee with a severely disabled son who required home dialysis on a scheduled basis was entitled to an accommodation under FEHA to meet his son’s dialysis needs.  The ruling was based on the language of FEHA which defines a disability to include an employee who is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, a disability.  Examples include, as in this case, time off from work to provide required medical care or transportation to appointments.  However, the court opinion did not actually become law. The plaintiff abandoned this claim on appeal and instead, focused on what was a slam dunk associational discrimination claim (he definitely was fired because of his need for time off to assist with his son’s daily dialysis at home).

Four years later, the concepts underpinning the Castro decision are back.  The California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) has indicated in a recent request for public comment that it is likely to introduce regulations to expand employers’ responsibilities to their California employees to require employers to provide accommodations to employees based on their association with an individual with a disability. To read the DFEH’s request for public comment, click here.

The deadline to provide public comment is February 1, 2021, and Matrix has done so. In particular, in our comments, we have urged the DFEH to narrowly define the individuals for whom the employer’s duty to engage in interactive discussions and provide reasonable accommodation(s) to those who meet the definition of “family member” under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”).  That is quite an extensive list that includes an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, and, as of January 1, 2021, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings.  Still, this would be more limited than the undefined associations covered by the ADA and would provide employers concrete guidance. 

Matrix has also focused its comments on the practicalities of what the DFEH is proposing; namely, what does an interactive process under these circumstances look like? Who is required to participate? Can the employer obtain certification of the “association” or family relationship?

And what about medical information? Under the ADA, if an employee’s need for accommodation is not known or obvious, an employer is entitled to information supporting he or she has a qualifying “disability,” how that disability impacts performance of essential job functions and what the employee needs by way of accommodation(s) to assist her in doing so.  In its comments, Matrix has proposed similar suggestions for medical support employers could request for associational accommodation requests, or that the DFEH create a safe harbor form, as it has for California Pregnancy Disability Leave and CFRA.

Moreover, the ADA allows an employer to seek additional medical, including an independent medical exam with a provider of its choosing under certain circumstances; similarly, CFRA provides for an employer to obtain a 2nd and/or 3rd opinion.   Matrix has asked the DFEH to consider allowing employers to do that as well for these “associational” accommodation requests if the medical information received about the disabled individual’s condition and care needs is of questionable validity.

We have no doubt that there are many in the employment community who are providing comments or input on these proposed changes to FEHA which, when they become law, will be onerous to employers of California personnel.  Fear not, dear readers! Matrix Radar is following these developments closely and when the regulations pass, we will be at the ready to assist our ADA clients in complying with those new obligations.

MORE COVID PAID LEAVE? BIDEN’S AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

Posted On January 19, 2021  

by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Vice President, Product Compliance

January 19, 2021

 

On January 14, 2021, President-Elect Biden announced his American Rescue Plan.  The Plan includes more employer-provided COVID-related paid leave.  If enacted, his plan would:

  • Reinstate the FFCRA paid leave provisions and extend the requirements to all employers (expanding coverage from private employers with fewer than 500 employees and eliminating the financial hardship exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees).
  • Eliminate the exemptions for healthcare workers and first responders.
  • Provide “over 14 weeks” of paid sick leave and family and medical leave for school or care center closures, caring for others with COVID-19, quarantining after exposure, and getting vaccinated. The make-up of that “over 14 weeks” of leave is not explained. The inclusion of “care center” closures makes me wonder if that is referring only to daycare for children, or could expand to include closure of care centers for adult family members in need of daily assistance.
  • Extend all paid leave to federal workers. Under FFCRA in 2020, federal employees were eligible for paid sick leave but not expanded paid FMLA for school closures.
  • Provide a maximum paid leave benefit of $1,400 per week. Mr. Biden’s Plan Fact Sheet (link below) indicates this will provide full wage replacement for workers earning up to $73,000 per year.
  • Provide a 100% tax credit to employers with fewer than 500 employees, but not to larger employers.
  • Reimburse state and local governments for the cost of the leave.
  • Remain in effect from passage until September 30, 2021.

Here is Mr. Biden’s American Rescue Plan Fact Sheet.  The paid leave provisions are on pages 7-8:  Biden Transition COVID Relief Package Fact Sheet - DocumentCloud

There are lots of missing details.  As of this writing, the U.S. House of Representatives has not yet proposed a 2021 bill with these or similar features, but it’s early days yet!  Matrix will be watching for further developments.  To us, the bigger question with longer-term impact is, will the U.S. Congress pass a federal paid family and medical leave bill for broader purposes such as the leave reasons protected by the unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act?

KICKSTART FOR 2021 – AN UPDATE TO GET THE NEW YEAR GOING

Posted On January 04, 2021  

by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Vice President, Product Compliance

January 04, 2021

 

Although there are still challenges ahead – there are always challenges – I think I speak for us all when I say I am happy to rip off that last page of the 2020 calendar and start with a brand new, fresh and hopeful 2021 model. Let’s look at a quick rundown of the latest developments in the world of absence management and accommodations:

  • Status of FFCRA – tax credits only
  • Electronic communications under the FMLA – telemedicine anyone?
  • Massachusetts PFML update, including the new Emergency Regulation 3.0
  • Connecticut PFML update – are you doing what you are supposed to?
  • California expansion of CFRA – more employers and family members covered and basis for taking CFRA.

Sure, it’s a lot to cover but we’ve tried to boil it down to the essentials and provide links to other information sources. And hey, if you can’t be ambitious on the first full business day of the new year, when can you be?

FFCRA tax credit extension – and nothing else. As we reported here, Congress passed a new COVID-19 relief bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA 2021), on December 21, 2020. Although President Trump threatened a veto for various reasons, he finally signed the bill on December 27. The bill contains no extension or expansion of the emergency paid sick leave or the expanded paid FMLA for school closures provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Those mandated paid leaves expired on December 31, 2020, regardless of whether an employee had used all of his/her entitlement. On the other hand, the tax credits provided for wages paid by private employers as required by FFCRA have been extended by 3 months, for FFCRA-like wages voluntarily paid by employers through March 31, 2021.

On December 31, the U.S. Department of Labor released new guidance on the expiration of FFCRA paid sick leave and paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for school closures. The DOL’s interpretation of the CAA 2021 is consistent with the above summary but also makes clear that the DOL will retain enforcement authority over employers’ leave responsibilities while the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements were in effect, even after these leave entitlements have expired. See the DOL’s FFCRA Questions and Answers, new questions 104 and 105.

FMLA in a COVID world – DOL addresses telemedicine and electronic posting. Recognizing the realities of social distancing and remote workplaces, on December 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor released 2 new Field Advisory Bulletins (FABs).

  • Electronic posting. FAB 2020-7 addresses when the DOL will consider “posting” of the employee notices required by several federal laws by email or an internet or intranet website to satisfy the employer’s posting obligations. The FMLA regulations already permit electronic posting of the general FMLA notice as long as the electronic posting otherwise meets the regulatory posting requirements. See 29 U.S.C. § 2619(a); 29 C.F.R. § 825.300(a)(1). FAB 2020-7 further explains that the DOL will consider electronic posting to satisfy the FMLA posting requirements where there is no physical establishment at which employees are employed or interviewing or hiring takes place, and the electronic posting is accessible to employees and applicants at all times. The FAB does not address electronic posting in situations where an employer may have employees both working remotely and others working at a company facility or applicants applying remotely. Common sense would dictate that the employer should use both methods of posting so that each employee and applicant, regardless of work or hiring location, has access to the required poster.
  • Telemedicine health care visits. FAB 2020-8 addresses when the DOL will consider telemedicine an “in-person” visit for the purposes of establishing a serious health condition qualifying for protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

A serious health condition exists when the employee is receiving “continuing treatment by a health care provider.” The term “treatment” includes “examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition.” See 29 CFR § 825.113(c). The regulations also provide that treatment by a health care provider means an “in-person” visit to a health care provider. See 29 CFR § 825.115(a)(3).

According to the DOL, to be considered an “in-person” visit, the telemedicine visit must include:

  • an examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider
  • be permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities; and
  • generally, should be performed by video conference.

Communication methods that do not meet these criteria (e.g., a simple telephone call, letter, email, or text message) are insufficient, by themselves, to satisfy the regulatory requirement of an “in-person” visit.

This FAB is consistent with FAQ #12 of the DOL’s frequently asked questions about the FMLA and pandemic conditions issued on July 20, 2020, which states, in part, “Until December 31, 2020, the [DOL] will consider telemedicine visits to be in-person visits . . . , for purposes of establishing a serious health condition under the FMLA.”

The requirement that the telemedicine visit be performed by video conference could be problematic for employees who don’t have internet access or have limited internet programs, equipment, or skills. (Thinking of my own old desktop that works fine but doesn’t have a camera!) At Matrix Absence Management we have been accepting FMLA (and STD) certifications that result from a telemedicine visit since early in the pandemic and will work with our clients’ employees to ensure the best opportunity possible to provide a sufficient certification during the pandemic.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave – It’s here! Starting January 1, your Massachusetts employees are now able to take paid family and medical leave. You can learn more by searching for “Massachusetts” in the search box for this blog, above, or visit the website for the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave. Matrix offers management of MA PFML private plans and our sister company Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. offers an insured private plan. But if you are going it alone with the state plan, the DFML has some helpful materials, including information on the employee application process and timeline with a DFML Application Timeline chart and an explanation of the employer's role in the state claim administrative process.

What do you need to be aware of now? Employers have ongoing workplace posting and new hire notice requirements so don’t slack on your obligations. And remember, the MA PFML leave is job protected (meaning reinstatement to the same or equivalent position following leave) and there is a presumption of retaliation for any negative employment action taken during or within 6 months after an employee’s MA PFML leave or other related activities. Are your HR and management personnel trained and ready?

Oh, and the MA PFML emergency regulation. The MA DFML has passed Emergency Regulation 3.0 authorizing “acute care hospitals” to allow delayed bonding leave in 2021.

But don’t stop reading – employers in other industries may apply to the DFML to extend the period in which an employee may schedule family bonding leave in the same manner as allowed for acute care hospitals. The Director, in his discretion, may grant or deny any such request after considering likely effects on public health and safety and the public interest.

An acute care hospital is defined as a hospital licensed under M.G.L. c. 111, § 51 and the teaching hospital of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The Emergency Regulation applies to all acute care hospitals regardless of whether they are providing MA PFML benefits through the state plan administered by the DFML or through a private plan.

In essence, employers that are acute care hospitals may allow an employee who received a new child in 2020 (by birth, adoption, or foster placement) and who wants to take bonding leave in 2021 to complete that leave any time in 2021, not necessarily within 12 months of the birth/placement as is normally the rule. The employee cannot be required to delay bonding leave and the employer doesn’t have to agree to the delay.

Here’s an example:

  • Baby adopted on 4/1/2020
  • Normally, the parent will need to take MA PFML for bonding between 1/1/2021 and 4/1/2021 (after the effective date of MA PFML and within 1 year of the birth or placement of the new child)
  • Under the emergency regulation, an employee of an acute care hospital can delay that leave to later in 2021 – for example to start in September 2021 and be completed by 12/31/2021

The reason for the Emergency Regulation is to try to soften the early-2021 crunch for bonding at a time when medical staff are in high need due to COVID. I’ll be surprised if this is effective. The employer cannot require the employee to delay bonding leave until later in 2021, so I would guess many hospital employees who received a child in 2020 will welcome the chance to take paid bonding leave in January to get a respite from COVID work or exposure. In any event, the regulation specifically says that employers who are acute care hospitals may initiate discussions with employees eligible for the extension to determine if they intend to request the allowable extension. Just be sure not to coerce!

The Emergency Regulation was final on December 21, 2020, and expires after 3 months due to the requirements of the emergency regulation process under MA law. We might see another emergency regulation at that time, or the passage of a nonemergency regulation in the meantime.

Connecticut paid family and medical leave requirements make their debut. The latest PFML program launched in Connecticut on January 1. The first phase is the mandatory (in most cases) withholding of employee contributions in the amount of 0.5% of wages and payment of the employee contributions to the CT Paid Leave Authority quarterly. Employers with private plans approved by the CT Paid Leave Authority by March 31, 2021, do not have to pay the employee contributions to the Authority. In addition, they can elect not to withhold contributions from employee paychecks and to fund the private plan themselves. Private plans approved at a later date will have these same benefits as of the start of the quarter at least 30 days after Authority approval of the plan.

The Authority has cut employers a little slack on the timing of early employee contributions – perhaps recognizing that they did not get the program off the ground as early as would have been helpful. Normally employers cannot withhold from employee paychecks retroactively – meaning that if an employer missed withholding from an employee paycheck in one pay period, it cannot make that up but withholding more than the 0.5% in a later pay period. The Authority has stated that, if an employer does not withhold enough from an employee’s wages, the Department of Labor allows for a very limited “catch-up” period of no longer than the first two quarters of 2021. In order to “catch up”, the employer may not take more than one percent of an employee’s pay per paycheck.

In a prior post available here, we summarized the 3 important steps employers need to be doing now: (1) register your business (supposedly by December 31, 2020, but better late than never!); (2) decide whether you want to adopt a private plan to meet your CT PFML obligations; and (3) get ready for withholding employee contributions starting January 1.

We now have even more helpful CT PFML material. You will find an informative employer guide here, covering the requirements of the law and many other “need to know” facts. And if you want to consider a private plan, contact your Matrix or Reliance Standard account manager or practice leader – we have extensive materials to aid you in preparing for the employee approval vote.

You can also visit the CT Paid Leave website for more information.

California Expands CFRA. We’ve written about this before, but it bears a reminder. On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1383 into law. The new law significantly expands coverage under the California Family Rights Act. The following changes took effect January 1, 2021:

  • Expands CFRA to cover any employer with 5 or more employees (currently, employer coverage starts at 50 or more employees)
  • Eliminates the exception from coverage if an employer employs fewer than 50 employees within 75 miles of the worksite where the employee is employed
  • Repeals the New Parent Leave Act (currently the NPLA provides bonding leave for employees of employers with 20-49 employees)
  • Expands covered relationships from child, parent, spouse, and domestic partner to include grandparent, grandchild, and sibling
  • Removes the age limit to care for a child; leave will be available to care for a child under age 18 or an adult dependent child
  • Allows parents who are employed by the same employer to each have the full 12 weeks of bonding leave without sharing the CFRA entitlement
  • Adds as a covered leave reason qualifying military exigencies related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee's spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces
  • Eliminates the “key employee” exception allowing an employer to deny coverage if the employee is a salaried employee who is among the highest paid 10% of the employer's employees

Matrix is now administering the expanded CFRA for claims filed on or after January 1, 2021.

Matrix can help! The wide array of new leave laws, including significantly the various state paid family and medical leave laws, is a challenge for employers. Matrix tracks state and federal legislative developments and reports on them on this blog. But that’s not all we do! We have other resources for you as well. For an overview of state paid leave laws, including employee eligibility, employer and employee contributions, and employee benefits, check out our chart of all state-mandated paid leave programs here.

And if you need help managing those state PFML programs, we’re your source! Matrix offers PFML management services in all states that allow private plans, and Reliance Standard offers insured plans where applicable. If your company is interested in a private plan to meet your Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, or other state paid leave obligations, coordinate with your other leave administration and paid leave policies, and avoid the turmoil of state administration, contact your Matrix or Reliance Standard account manager or practice leader now!