This article rounds up recent updates to state paid family and medical leave (PFML) programs in Washington State, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and Colorado. Employers with employees in these states should be aware of the below changes and review/update any leave policies, as necessary.

We previously reviewed Delaware and Maryland’s new PFML programs in our blogs, Delaware Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave and Maryland Passes a Paid Family and Medical Leave Law.

Washington State: Amendments to the PFML Program

Washington passed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5649, which modifies its PFML Program in several ways.

Effective June 9, 2022, the following changes were made to Washington PFML:

  • Bereavement Leave: Employees can use PFML during the 7 calendar days after the death of a child if the employee would have been qualified for medical leave for the birth of that child or for family leave to bond with that child. In addition, bereavement leave is available to employees who experience the loss of a child due to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of a child within the first 12 months of their birth.
  • Postnatal Leave Classified as Medical Leave: Leave taken during the first 6 weeks following the birth of a child (post-natal period) is presumed to be medical leave unless the employee expressly elects to take family leave. In addition, employees using paid medical leave for the post-natal period do not need to provide certification of a serious health condition.
  • Waiting Period: The 7-day waiting period before benefits are available do not reduce/count against the PFML maximum duration available for employees. In addition, the amendments eliminate the waiting period for medical leave taken for the birth of a child.

Connecticut: New Notice Requirement

New notice requirements under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Paid Leave Act (PLA), which require employers to provide a notice to employees at the time of hire and annually thereafter, went into effect on July 1, 2022. We reviewed the new notice requirement and regulations in our prior blog, Effective July 1, 2022, Connecticut Employers Must Provide Employees with a New Paid Family and Medical Leave Notice.

Washington, D.C.: Reduction in Employer Contribution & Expansion of Leave

On June 7, 2022, the District of Columbia Council approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Support Act of 2022 (Act), which expands leave benefits under the Universal Paid Leave Act (UPLA). As previously discussed in our blog, Washington, D.C. Paid Leave Increases July 1, 2022, the increased leave amount was originally set to go into effect on July 1, 2022; however, the Act delays the applicability date to October 1, 2022. Changes to the UPLA are outlined below.

Effective July 1, 2022, the employer contributions for WA PFL were reduced from 0.62% to 0.26%. As such, employers should adjust contributions accordingly.

Effective October 1, 2022, paid leave benefits are increasing as follows:

Current Max Leave DurationMax Leave Duration as of 10/1/22
Parental Leave8 weeks12 weeks
Family Leave6 weeks12 weeks
Medical Leave6 weeks12 weeks
Parental Leave2 weeks2 weeks

Colorado: Additional Implementing Regulations Released

In 2020, Colorado passed a statewide paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program, which will provide eligible employees with up to 16 weeks of paid leave beginning in 2024. Premiums to fund FAMLI will begin on January 1, 2023 and will be split evenly between employees and certain employers. We reviewed the FAMLI program in our prior blog, Updates to Colorado’s Upcoming Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program.

Colorado recently released a second set of implementing regulations and developed additional employer-facing resources, including a website and FAQ. Key takeaways from this new guidance are highlighted below:

  • Premium Collection & Remittance: Premiums to fund the Program will be 0.9% of employee wages, up to the Social Security contribution limit (0.9% will be the rate until at least 2025). Employees and certain employers will split the premium evenly, meaning each will contribute 0.45% of employee wages. Employers are responsible for collecting the employee share of the premium (e.g., via payroll deduction), or alternatively, can cover the employee share of the premium. Employers are also responsible for remitting both their share (if required) and the employee share of the premium to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) through a forthcoming online system at the end of each quarter.
    • Small Employer Exception: Employers with less than 10 employees will not be required to pay the employer share of the premium but will still be required to collect and remit the employee share. For 2023, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) will use an employer’s 1st quarter unemployment insurance reports to determine their size. For subsequent years, CDLE will base an employer’s size on the preceding year.
  • Wages Subject to Premium: The following employee wages will be subject to the premium: salary or hourly wages, commissions, bonuses, other compensation (including board, lodging, payments in kind), and tips when an employer exercises significant control over the amount and distribution of money received by an employee as a tip/gratuity (e.g., employer collects then redistributes tips to employees).

Colorado’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Division will continue to release implementing guidance on the Program, including details on how an employer can obtain approval for a private plan. Colorado employers can monitor the proposed/adopted rules on this webpage.

Additional Resources

Emerald Law — Emerald is a Senior Compliance Consultant for Sequoia, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Emerald enjoys stand-up comedy, live music, and writing non-fiction.