Four questions to determine if paid family leave is right for your organization

Four questions to determine if paid family leave is right for your organization

As the debate over a national paid family leave law (PFL) plays out in Washington, many states and organizations have already established their own PFL policies. While it is more common in certain industries, companies across many sectors are following the PFL trend. But how do you know if adding PFL benefits are right for your organization?

Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you evaluate the benefit of PFL for your employees:

Is PFL competitive or novel within our industry?
Many organizations find that offering PFL benefits helps attract top talent, makes employees feel supported and is better for business overall. However, there can be more competitive reasons for offering coverage.

For example, access to PFL is most common in finance and insurance, where more than a third (37 percent) of workers have access to the benefit. A third (33 percent) of information industry workers can accessPFL, as can 27 percent of workers in professional, scientific and technical services sectors.1 In this instance, not having a proactive PFL program in place could potentially hinder recruitment and retention efforts.

Is PFL statutorily required for any employees?
As mentioned in my last post, California, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Washington have PFL legislation either in effect or pending. Each state has its own acceptable reasons for leave, maximum financial benefit and maximum duration of leave allowed. It’s important to determine what baseline you would offer if you have employees based in multiple states with statutory legislation, and how you can extend benefits to employees in non-statutorily required states.

How does PFL stack up against FMLA and disability insurance?
PFL benefits can complement your existing employee benefits offerings, such as disability insurance, as employees could be able to use both concurrently after the birth of a child. However, state-mandated PFL benefits may differ from other legal requirements your organization has to follow, such as Family Medical Leave Act regulations.

That’s because there are protections as part of PFL programs that may extend beyond FMLA — including the definition of covered family members. For example, some states include grandchildren and siblings. Not only that, FMLA may be denied or approved out of sync with PFL benefits, in part because of overall employee eligibility.

What are my obligations when adding PFL to my organization’s benefits package?
If you decide to add benefits, there are a few to-do’s that can help create a smooth and compliant process. These include:

  • Obtaining the required insurance
  • Making revisions to your company handbook
  • Distributing and posting notices of the change
  • Determining a process to withhold, remit and report contributions
  • Tracking eligibility

Adding PFL can benefit your organization – especially in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. These questions can help you narrow your focus and determine if it is an addition that truly makes sense for your company and employees.

About guest blogger Breanna Scott
Breanna Scott, product and service management director with Standard Insurance Company (The Standard), guides the strategic development of The Standard’s product portfolio, including market analysis and product positioning. She leads the group insurance product team responsible for creating and refining The Standard’s employee benefits and voluntary product and service offerings.

[1] Pew Research Center, Access to paid family leave varies widely across employers, industries, March 2017,

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