The Beatles said it best – all you need is love . . . and leave of absence updates.

That’s why we’re here – to distill the constant developments in the leave and disability space so you don’t have to.

This time around, we’ll focus on final regulations for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), changes to state average weekly wage (SAWW) figures galore, and continued “construction” on our cohort of upcoming mandated Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) programs.



Finally! EEOC Issues Final Regulations on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final regulations and Interpretative Guidance to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA went into effect on June 27, 2023. In case you’ve been avoiding me the past 12 months, the PWFA requires that employers with at least 15 employees provide reasonable accommodations, absent undue hardship, to qualified employees and applicants with known limitations related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

The PWFA required the EEOC to publish final regulations by December 29, 2023. However, the EEOC did not issue final regulations until April 15, 2024. The final regulations became effective June 18, 2024.

The following is a list of some of the most pertinent issues addressed in the 400+ pages of final regulations.

  • The PWFA covers a wide range of conditions related to pregnancy, including fertility and infertility treatments, carpal tunnel, menstruation, postpartum depression, lactation, changes in hormone levels, abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, and preeclampsia. The limitation does not need to be disabling. Further, the condition is defined as an impediment or problem that may be modest, minor, or episodic.
  • Significantly maintained the list of reasonable accommodation requests that will almost never impose an undue hardship, including permitting employees to carry or keep water nearby, take breaks as needed to eat and drink, and permitting work to be done while sitting instead of standing or vice versa.
  • Clarified the definition of a “qualified individual” as one who can perform the essential functions in the near future. In the case of a pregnant employee, the presumption is the employee can perform the essential functions “in the near future,” within 40 weeks of suspension of the job function. “In the near future” should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the EEOC advises that leave to recover medically from childbirth is not considered as part of the 40 weeks. If an EE needs an accommodation after returning from childbirth, the ER needs to do a new evaluation of “in the near future.” For conditions other than current pregnancy, the regulations do not impose a 40-week limitation. However, the final regulations clarify a request to indefinitely suspend an essential function is not “in the near future.”
  • Advises that ERs can consider temporarily “eliminating” essential functions or assigning the EE to a different role temporarily that does not require that essential function. The EEOC recognizes court cases that say “indefinite” leave is not reasonable but that when it comes to “suspending” essential functions, EEs do not have to “pinpoint” the exact date when they can again perform the essential functions and can provide an estimated range of dates. The EEOC also makes clear an EE can request for more than one essential function to be suspended.
  • Further restrict the documentation and information an employer may require to support a request. The EEOC repeatedly states the interactive process under PWFA should be simple, quick, and not create excessive burdens for EEs. The goal of the PWFA is to make it easy for an EE to request an accommodation. Requests can be oral and, if in writing, need not be on a specific form. If forms are used, they should be simple and the EE does not need to identify a medical condition. The EEOC states many of the limitations and accommodations needed under the PWFA will be “small or minor” and they expect that most accommodations will be provided following nothing more than a conversation between the EE and their supervisor.
  • When the limitation and accommodation needs are “obvious” and the EE provides a “self-confirmation,” documentation is not required. Self-confirmation means a simple statement where the EE confirms physical or mental condition and adjustment or change is needed due to the limitation. The self-confirmation can be made in any manner. Additionally, ERs may not require the statement to be in a specific format, use specific words, or be on a specific form.
  • Employers may not seek documentation when the EE is pregnant and seeks a modification that EEOC has identified as a predictable assessment. Predictable assessment is defined as:
    • Allowing an EE to carry or keep water near and drink, as needed
    • Allowing an EE to take additional restroom breaks, as needed
    • Allowing an EE whose work requires standing to sit and whose work requires sitting to stand, as needed; and
    • Allowing an EE to take breaks to eat and drink, as needed
    • When accommodation requested is related to a time and/or place to pump at work, other modifications related to pumping at work or a time to nurse during work hours (for those whose child is in sufficiently close proximity to work)
  • When documentation is permissible, an ER can request only “reasonable documentation” and “reasonable documentation” is defined as “the minimum” that is sufficient to identify the below. If you are in need of a PWFA medical certification, please contact your Account Manager, TPG has one available!
    • Confirm the physical or mental condition at issue (does not need to be a disability)
    • Confirm physical or mental condition is related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions
    • Describe the adjustment or change at work that is needed due to the limitation
    • ERs may not require that supporting documentation be submitted on a specific form
  • It is unlawful for employers to require EEs to take leave, whether paid or unpaid, if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that does not cause undue hardship.
  • It is a best practice to provide an interim accommodation, which may mitigate against a claim of delay by an employee.
  • Time for bonding or for childcare is not covered by the PWFA.



Paid USERRA Leave?

In early June, a federal appellate court issued a precedential opinion clarifying when employers must pay employees and provide certain benefits while they take short-term military leave under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

USERRA is a federal law that protects servicemembers’ and veterans’ civilian employment rights. In many situations, USERRA guarantees reemployment rights for employees who leave to perform service in the uniformed service.

But the leave doesn’t necessarily require service members be paid for this time, right? Before your train jumps off the tracks, let’s dig in. USERRA entitles employees who take military leave “to such other rights and benefits as are generally provided by the employer of the person to employees having similar seniority, status, and pay who are on furlough or leave of absence.” Those “rights and benefits” are the “terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, including any advantage, profit, [or] privilege that accrues by reason of an employment contract oremployer policy, plan, or practice.”

Put simply: Those rights and benefits may include pay while on leave.

The USERRA regulations state that where benefits vary depending on the type of leave, an employee on military leave is entitled to “the most favorable treatment accorded to any comparable form of leave when he or she performs service in the uniformed services.”

So, what is considered a “comparable form of leave”?

In this decision, the court compared short-term military leave to bereavement and jury-duty leave. Specifically, it examined how comparable the forms of leave were in (1) duration, (2) purpose, and (3) control (i.e., the ability of the employee to choose when to take the leave).

In this case (with a little airline known as American):

  • The average duration of a single instance of each type of leave was between 1.8 and about 3.3 days, and the most common duration was between one and three days. However, on average, pilots took far more military leave than jury duty or bereavement leave.
  • Jury duty and military leave have a common purpose: civic duty. Military and bereavement leave promote public safety. But, unlike the other forms, military leave primarily enables pilots to have parallel careers.
  • As with pilots who take jury duty or bereavement leave, most pilots who take military leave lack the ability to control their schedules.

The Third Circuit (Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) concluded that a jury should decide. While there are still a lot of unknowns in how this may shake out, employers should be on alert that if your company provides military leave consistent with USERRA, it may have to pay for it.



Sick Leave Accrual Clarification

Effective January 1, 2024, California law requires employers to provide employees at least forty (40) hours or five (5) days of Paid Sick Leave (PSL) per year, up from 24 hours/3 days in previous years.

The revised legislation requires employers who use an accrual method to apply an accrual rate of no less than one hour of PSL for every 30 hours worked. However, the law states that the employer satisfies those accrual requirements only by providing the employee no less than 24 hours of PSL by the 120th day of employment/120th day of the year and no less than 40 hours by the 200th day of employment/200th day of the year.

This language led to significant confusion, specifically for part-time employees working less than 40 hours per week who were required to be provided with 24 hours by the 120th day. A full-time employee working a 40-hour workweek would naturally accrue the requisite PSL, but the same could not be said for employees working less than 40-hour workweeks.

California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) issued FAQ responses addressing this concern. Specifically, “If an employer is using the 1 hour of paid sick leave accrued for 30 hours worked[…], then the employer does not have to provide 24 hours or 3 days by the 120th day of the year and 40 hours or 5 days by the 200th day. The requirements to provide the minimum amounts by the 120th day and the 200th day of the year are set up as a measure for employers who use other accrual methods so that the plans meet certain minimums. The measure assumes full-time employment.”

Mystery solved!


New State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW)

Each year, Colorado releases an updated State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) that goes into effect July 1 of that year through June 30 of the following year. The Colorado FAMLI benefit calculation is based on this figure, so when the new SAWW is released, the new FAMLI minimum and maximum benefit amounts are known.

For the period of July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025, it will increase from $1,421.16 to $1,471.34.

Impacts to the FAMLI weekly benefit amount are as follows:

Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount

(Through the end of 2024)

New Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount

(Beginning January 1, 2025)

$1,100 $1,324.21


Not all claimants will be affected equally. For example, those currently receiving the maximum benefit of $1,100 per week will not experience immediate changes.

Other claimants may see a slight increase in their weekly benefits. This adjustment is based on a sliding scale tied to each individual’s average weekly wage compared to the state’s average. Effective July 1, 2024, the first $735.67 of an individual’s average weekly wage will be replaced at a 90% rate, with the remainder replaced at 50%.

For instance, a current FAMLI claimant earning $1,000 per week currently receives $784 weekly. As of July 1, their benefit will increase to $794 per week.

Starting January 1, 2025, the maximum weekly benefit amount (currently $1,100) will increase for new claims to $1,324.21.


Increased Paid Sick Leave Coverage

Connecticut’s governor signed legislation on a major revision to mandated paid sick leave, broadly expanding coverage to nearly every employer and employee in the state.

Employers, Individuals Covered

The law currently applies to employers who employ at least 50 individuals in the state. That threshold will be lowered incrementally until January 1, 2027. The definition of covered employer will be adjusted as follows:

  • As of 1.1.25 – Employers employing 25 or more individuals in the state
  • As of 1.1.26 – Employers employing 11 or more individuals in the state
  • As of 1.1.27 – Employers employing one or more individuals in the state

Connecticut’s current paid sick leave law only provides a guarantee of paid sick leave to “service workers.” Beginning on January 1, 2025, the “service worker” concept will be removed, and covered employers will be required to provide paid sick leave to all employees, with limited exceptions for “seasonal employees,” defined as employees who work 120 days or less in any year, and for certain unionized employees whose employers participate in a multiemployer health plan pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

Accrual, Carry-Over, Retention, Payout of Hours

The current service workers paid sick leave law provides for a maximum accrual of 40 hours per year. It also requires that employees be permitted to carry over at least 40 hours of accrued, unused paid sick leave. Those requirements will not change, however, the paid sick leave accrual rate, will be accelerated to a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked. Under the current law, the minimum rate of accrual is one hour per 40 hours worked.

Employee Eligibility

Although both the current law and new law require accrual of paid sick leave begins upon hire, employees covered by the new law will become eligible to use paid sick leave after being employed for 120 calendar days.

Use of Leave

The new law substantially expands the permitted reasons for taking paid sick leave. Currently, the law permits the use of sick leave for certain sickness and healthcare-related reasons of the spouse or child. The new law expands the use of leave relating to needs of family members and tracks the same definition under Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act. The new law’s definition of “family member” includes spouses, siblings, children, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents, as well as individuals who are “related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be equivalent of those family relationships.”

Employee’s will be permitted to take leave for the following reasons:

  • An employee’s or employee’s family member’s illness, injury, or health condition;
  • The medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of the employee or employee’s family member;
  • Preventive medical care for the employee’s or employee’s family member’s mental or physical health;
  • The employee’s own mental health wellness day;
  • Closure by order of a public official, due to a public health emergency, of either an employer’s place of business or a family member’s school or place of care;
  • A determination by a health authority, employer of the employee, employer of a family member, or a healthcare provider of whether an employee or employee’s family member poses a risk to the health of others due to exposure to a communicable illness, whether or not the employee or family member contracted the communicable illness; and
  • Where an employee or employee’s family member is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, for the purposes of:
    • Medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability;
    • Obtaining services from a victim services organization;
    • Relocating due to such family violence or sexual assault; or
    • Participating in any civil or criminal proceeding related to or resulting from such family violence or sexual assault.

Beginning on January 1, 2025, employers will be prohibited from requiring an employee to provide any documentation that paid sick leave is being taken for permitted purposes.

Notice/Informational Requirements

The new law requires, in addition to postings, individual notice to employees of their rights at the time of hire or January 1, 2025, whichever is later.

Employers will also be required to add to employee wage records provided at the time of wage payment (e.g., paystubs) information concerning the number of paid sick leave hours accrued by or provided to the employee and the number of hours of paid sick leave, if any, the employee has used during the calendar year. Those records must be retained for three years.

Paid Sick Leave Expansion for Victims of Sexual Assault

On May 9, 2024, Connecticut passed Public Act 24-5 that expands coverage under their Paid Sick Leave Program to include employees who are victims of sexual assault. This change will go into effect on October 1, 2024.

The Act also allows victims of sexual assault on leave to top up benefits received from the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Program with compensation garnered from the victim compensation program provided by the Office of Victim Services within the Judicial Department. When a covered employee receives benefits from both programs, the total benefits administered are capped at their regular rate of compensation.


Final Rules on Paid Family and Medical Leave

I’m imagining being magically whisked away to Delaware. Hi, I’m in Delaware (if you don’t know the movie I’m referencing, party on, Wayne). Anyways, contributions for Delaware’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program (Healthy Delaware Families Act) begin January 1, 2025, with benefits available January 1, 2026. Please reference our PFML Overview Guide for more details on plan provisions. However, some additional final rules were adopted which became effective June 30. Of note:

  • Employers must provide employees with notice of its coordination policy for PTO and PFML benefits. The notice must include:
    • Whether use of unused, accrued paid time off is required prior to accessing PFML benefits;
    • How much unused, accrued paid time off is required to be used before accessing PFML benefits; and
    • Whether the use of accrued paid time off counts towards the total length of leave provided under the HDFA.
    • If PFML leave also qualifies for employer-provided short-term disability, long-term disability, or other paid leave policy, employers may count both the wage replacement amount and the duration of the PFML leave against the benefit amounts and leave duration provided under any of the employer-provided policies.
  • If an employer provides a disability or paid leave policy as primary coverage, the PFML benefit payments must be reduced to what the employer-provided policy pays so that the covered individual receives no more than 100% of their average weekly wage. If the PFML is primary, then the employer-provided leave policy supplements the PFML benefit up to no more than 100% of a covered individual’s average weekly wages. If there is no language within the employer’s policy regarding whether the policy is primary or secondary, then the PFML Program will be secondary.
  • Employees must provide at least 30 days’ advance notice prior to filing a claim for leave. If the 30 days’ notice is not practicable, notice must be given as soon as practicable. If the leave is foreseeable at least 30 days in advance and employee fails to give advance notice, with no reasonable excuse, the employer may delay coverage until 30 days after the date the employee does provide notice. For the employer to delay the start of leave, the need for leave and approximate date leave would be taken must have been clearly foreseeable.


Paid Leave for All Workers Finalized Regulations (4 Months After the Law Took Effect)

On April 30, 2024, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) published the final regulations interpreting the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act (the “Act”) which took effect on January 1, 2024. Our summary is below.

Qualifying Pre-Existing Paid Leave Policies

The Act includes broad carveout language for employers with pre-existing paid leave policies that provided employees at least 40 hours of paid leave (or the prorated equivalent, one hour for every 40 hours worked) and offered employees the option, at their discretion, to take paid leave for any reason. If an employer’s policy meets these qualifications, the employer would not need to modify its paid time off policy to comply with the Act.

The final regulations stipulate a pre-existing policy must have been enacted prior to January 1, 2024, and have been in effect on January 1, 2024, to qualify. However, employers may modify their pre-existing policies after January 1 so long as they still provide the minimum amount of time required by the law.

Accrual and Carryover of Paid Leave

The Act requires that paid leave accrue at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked.

If an employer provides paid leave to employees by accruing the time (compared to frontloading), the Act requires carryover of accrued but unused leave from one 12-month period to the next. A 40-hour carry-over cap can be imposed by employers through a valid written policy.

Using Paid Leave

Employees can determine how much paid leave they want to use, except that employers may set a minimum increment of at least two hours per day.

It is the employee’s choice whether and when to apply paid leave to an absence in the first instance. If the employee has more than one type of leave available to cover an absence, the employer “should” confirm and document which category of leave the employee wishes to draw from.

Employer Notice Requirements

Employers must satisfy the following notice requirements:

  • Notice/Workplace Poster: Post an IDOL-provided notice in a conspicuous place on the work premises and include a copy of the notice in a written document, employee manual, or policy. The notice must be provided in English and, if a “significant percentage” of workers are not literate in English, in any other language commonly spoken in the workplace.
  • Define 12-Month Period: Designate in writing to the employee at time of hire the 12-month period used for paid leave.
  • Policy: Provide a written policy if the employer imposes terms and conditions on employees’ use of paid leave (such as notice requirements). The policy must be made available in English and in any additional language commonly spoken by the employer’s workforce.
  • Notice that PTO Policy Used for Compliance: If an employer chooses to credit the paid leave provided for under the Act to an existing paid leave allowance provided by the employer, such policy must be communicated to the employee within 30 days after the start of employment or of the effective date of the policy.
  • Initial Notice of Frontloading: If an employer chooses to frontload paid leave in lieu of accrual, the employer must give written notice to the employee informing the employee of how many paid leave hours that employee is receiving on or before the first day of initial employment or on or before the first day of the initial 12-month period.
  • The final regulations do not contain any paystub reporting requirements. As originally proposed, the regulations would have required employers to report employee’s paid leave accrual and remaining balance on each paystub and provide these records to the employee upon request.

The proposed regulations had a requirement that employers post “[a] statement, written by the employer, summarizing the employer’s written paid leave manual, handbook, or policy, if the employer has one.” This language has been removed from the final regulations, and the posting requirements have reverted to the IDOL-issued notice.


Voluntary Paid Family and Medical Leave Coverage

Kentucky joined a number of other states by giving insurers the authority to approve PFL products, if the employer would like to voluntarily offer this benefit to their employees. This new law does not require an employer purchase family leave insurance or otherwise provide paid family and medical leave to employees. However, the Act authorizes qualified life insurers to offer paid family leave insurance policies under specified circumstances.

Under the Act, a paid family leave insurance policy may provide leave benefits for an employee to:

  • provide physical or psychological care for a family member because of a serious health condition or any other reason specified in the policy;
  • bond with a child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption, or placement with the employee for foster care;
  • address a qualifying exigency recognized under FMLA for a family member on covered active duty or notified of an impending call to active duty in the armed forces;
  • to care for a family member injured in the line of duty as a member of the armed forces or as a first responder; or
  • for any other reasons not based on the employee’s disability specified in the policy.

If an employer elects to provide this benefit, a paid family leave insurance policy must:

  • include the details, requirements, and length of benefits available for each covered reason for family leave;
  • provide at least two weeks of leave during a period of 52 consecutive calendar weeks
  • state whether there is an unpaid waiting period for benefits and the terms and conditions of the waiting period;
  • state the amount of benefits to be paid for each covered reason for leave;
  • provide the definition of and methods for calculating the wages upon which the amount of benefits would be based;
  • indicate whether benefits would be subject to offsets for other wages or income and the circumstances under which wages may be offset; and
  • state any other limitation, exclusion, or reduction of eligibility for benefits available under the policy.


Paid Family and Medical Leave (Time to Care Act) Delayed – Again

In May 2023, Maryland amended the Time to Care Act and delayed contributions to begin October 1, 2024 (originally scheduled for October 1, 2023) with benefits available January 1, 2026 (originally scheduled to be available January 1, 2025).

Contributions and benefits have been delayed again, now contributions will begin on July 1, 2025, and covered employees will begin receiving benefits on July 1, 2026. The secretary of labor will set the rate of contribution by February 1, 2025. The secretary of labor had set the rate of .90% for employers with at least 15 employees. However, this rate is likely to change due to the updated law. Once set by the secretary of labor, the rate will be in effect from July 1, 2025, to June 30, 2026.


Paid Family and Medical Leave Changes

The legislature made several changes to their program, which will become effective before January 1, 2026, when both contributions and benefits begin. The PFML changes were in the omnibus bill identified as HR 5247 and located now at Article 73 of Chapter 127 – MN Laws.

The basics of the PFML law remain the same – please review our PFML Overview Guide for more detail, but the notable changes are outlined below:

  • Added coverage for former employees – qualified employees who are separated from employment for less than 26 weeks may receive MN PFML benefits. Coverage applies until the individual is hired by a new employer or 26 weeks pass, whichever occurs first.
  • If an employer provides wage replacement to an employee for weeks that should be paid by the Paid Leave division, the division may reimburse the employer directly for those weeks.
  • The contribution calculation for small employers has changed. For employers with fewer than 30 employees and an “EMPLOYER average weekly wage” less than or equal to 150% of the SAWW, the rate is now 75% of the regular rate. Of that, employers pay 25% and employees pay the remainder. It’s unclear what an employer average weekly wage is as PFML regulation traditionally defines ‘employee’ average weekly wage.
  • The “initial paid week,” which created a lot of confusion for employers, is not a waiting period. The initial week must be paid retroactively after the applicant has met the seven-day qualifying event and must be paid in the first benefit payment. In other words, the minimum period for which benefits are payable, except for a bonding claim, is a single qualifying event of at least seven calendar days. Therefore, an employee who only needs leave for five days is not eligible. For intermittent leave, “initial paid week” means seven consecutive or nonconsecutive, or a combination of consecutive and nonconsecutive, calendar days from the effective date of leave, of which only days when leave is taken are payable.
  • Previously, leave could be taken in increments of one workday. Now, intermittent leave must be taken in accordance with the established employer policy for other forms of leave, as long as the policy allows for increments of at least one workday.
  • Since our practice has expertise in assisting clients move into a private plan, we were happy to see some guidance that addresses claim transitions. If moving from private plan to private plan, state plan to private plan, or private plan to state plan. the plan covering the employee when benefits were approved is required to continue paying benefits. If an extension or recertification is required, the employee reapplies with the new plan. If an application for leave is filed by a former employee to a private plan, the plan pays benefits for the totality of the leave. Private plans may not cut off eligibility for a former employee during an approved leave.
  • The bill also added offset language stating that eligible employees may receive both PFML and STD benefits and that STD benefits may be offset by PFML benefits paid to the employee pursuant to the terms of the STD policy.

Paid Family and Medical Leave FAQs Available

In May, the state published Frequently Asked Questions Guides interpreting the Paid Leave for employees and their families (Employee Guide) and employers (Employer Guide). Both Guides provide crucial insight into Minnesota’s interpretation and intended implementation of the program.

Paid Family and Medical Leave – Wage Detail & Reporting

Every quarter, employers are required to submit a report that details wages paid to their employees. The Paid Leave division will leverage the existing Unemployment Insurance (UI) Online system to collect wage detail reports for the program. If an employer is covered by the UI program, they will be able to submit a single wage detail file for both programs when they pay their UI taxes. The data used in the UI filing will be used to report wages directly to the Paid Leave program.

If an employer is not covered by the Unemployment Insurance program, they will need to set up a “Paid Leave Only” account. The state will post instructions on their website as soon as Paid Leave Only accounts are available.

The first wage detail reports will be due on October 31, 2024, and will be based on wages paid between July 1, 2024, and September 30, 2024. There is more information on wage detail reporting at: Updated pages to submit and adjust wage detail information / Employers – Unemployment Insurance Minnesota (

Keep in mind, the required reports are for wage detail, premiums do not need to be paid until after the Paid Leave program launches in 2026 and the initial wage detail reports are for informational purposes only. The first premiums for Paid Leave will not be due until April 30, 2026, and those initial premiums will only apply to wages earned between January 1, 2026, and March 31, 2026.

Employers will need to provide the first and last name, social security number, wages paid, and hours worked for each employee. This is identical to information provided to the Unemployment Insurance division.

Pregnancy Accommodation and Parental Leave Law Amendments

The Minnesota legislature made slight adjustments to the state’s pregnancy accommodation law and the pregnancy and parental leave law that will go into effect August 1, 2024. The amendments clarify that when an employee takes leave as a pregnancy accommodation or pursuant to Minnesota’s pregnancy and parental leave law, employers must maintain the employee’s coverage under any group insurance policy, group subscriber contract, or healthcare plan for the employee and any dependents as if the employee was still working. However, employers can continue requiring employees to pay their share of the premium for any such benefits. Additionally, employers may not count any time an employee takes off work to attend prenatal care medical appointments against the employee’s 12-week leave entitlement under the pregnancy and parental leave law.

Earned Sick and Safe Time Leave Amendments

On May 24, the governor signed legislation amending the state’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law, nearly six months after the statute took effect. The top changes are outlined below.

  • Employers must permit employees to use all paid leave provided to them in accordance with the ESST law when the paid leave may otherwise be used for personal injury or illness. In other words, if an employer provides employees paid leave in an amount beyond the statutory minimum, and the employer permits employees to use such paid leave for personal illness or injury, then the employer must treat the entire paid leave balance as ESST and cannot otherwise restrict the amount of the paid leave it considers ESST.
  • Previously, only employees who worked in the state of Minnesota for at least 80 hours in one year were covered by the ESST law. The amendments clarify that an employee is eligible for ESST immediately upon employment, provided the employee is anticipated to work at least 80 hours in one year.
  • Employers no longer need to list an employee’s ESST balance on the employee’s earning statement, but employers still need to provide the information in a reasonable format. Instead, employers must provide each employee their total number of ESST hours available and used each pay period on a written or electronic record. If the record is electronic, then the employer must allow employees during working hours to use an employer-owned device to access, and print, their ESST balance.
  • Employers can only require employees to provide reasonable documentation establishing their leave is covered by the ESST statute when the absence lasts for more than three consecutive scheduled workdays. Additionally, when ESST is used for an absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or the employee’s family member and the employee cannot obtain documentation in a reasonable time or without added expense, the employer must accept a written statement from the employee indicating ESST was used for a qualifying reason as reasonable documentation.
  • Employers are not required to permit employees to use ESST in increments smaller than 15 minutes.
  • Employees can use ESST for funeral-related reasons, in addition to addressing financial or legal matters “that arise after” a family member’s death.


Paid Prenatal Leave

New York is the first state to mandate a standalone entitlement to paid prenatal leave. An amendment to New York’s paid sick and safe leave law will require employers to provide up to 20 hours of paid leave in a 52-week period for pregnant employees to attend prenatal medical appointments and procedures. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2025, and provides a separate bank of paid, protected leave for pregnant employees beyond existing paid leave entitlements.

The “paid prenatal personal leave” can be used by pregnant employees for healthcare services, testing, or procedures that relate to their pregnancy. The paid leave can be taken in hourly increments.

Paid prenatal personal leave is in addition to paid sick and safe leave (40 or 56 hours, depending on employer size). The statute does not restrict the number of times paid prenatal leave can be taken by a single employee, other than to limit the use to 20 hours in a 52-week period.

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Sunset

On July 31, 2025, the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law that has been in effect since March 2020 will end.

This is welcome news to many New York employers desiring to move past COVID-era employment laws and restrictions.


Reminder – OFLA Changes Effective July 1!

Hi friends, we’ve made it! Between SB999, SB1515, and SB1514, Oregon has made it an especially challenging place for employers to operate – just when we think we should go left, we need to go right! As a quick recap, here is a summary of the most significant changes to OFLA that became effective July 1.

  • Parental and serious health condition leave (for employee and family member [except child, see below]) are no longer covered under OFLA. Pregnancy disability as well as OMFLA continues to be covered.
  • Paid Leave Oregon will no longer run concurrently with OFLA
  • Bereavement leave is capped at two weeks per death and four weeks per leave year
  • Sick child leave is still covered and expanded to care for a child who is suffering from an illness, injury, or condition that requires home care or who requires home care due to the closure of the child’s school or child care provider as a result of a public health emergency
  • OFLA temporarily covers two additional weeks of leave for the fostering or adoption process
    • This provision will sunset on January 1, 2025, and effective January 1, 2025, “family leave” under Paid Leave Orgon will include leave to “effectuate the legal process required for placement of a foster child or adoption of a child”

New State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) and Benefit Maximum for Paid Leave Oregon

Annually, Oregon releases its updated State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) which is generally effective from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The Paid Leave Oregon benefit calculation is based on this figure, so when the new SAWW is released, the Paid Leave Oregon minimum and maximum benefit amounts are known.

The Oregon Employment Department has confirmed the State Average Weekly Wage for the period of July 7, 2024 through June 30, 2025, will increase from $1,269.69 to $1,307.17.

Starting Sunday, July 7, 2024, impacts to the Paid Leave Oregon weekly benefit amount are as follows:

Minimum Weekly Benefit Amount


Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount


New Minimum Weekly Benefit Amount


New Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount


$63.48 $1,523.63 $65.36 $1,568.60


Whether your organization utilizes the state plan or an equivalent plan, the legislation dictates that claims established prior to July 7 of this year will have their benefit amounts calculated using the old SAWW, and only new claims (established after July 7) will be calculated using the new SAWW amount. Once established, a claimant’s weekly benefit amount will apply for the entire benefit year, regardless of if the SAWW is updated mid-claim.

Attention Employers Offering Equivalent Plans – Re-Application Requirements

As outlined in the Oregon Statute and Regulations, all employers who are providing the state-mandated PFML coverage through an approved Equivalent Plan must reapply for that Equivalent Plan exemption once per year for the first three years of the program. This annual reapplication is based on the effective date of coverage with the private carrier. The state is providing a 30-day window for this reapplication process, which can be accessed on the FRANCES online portal.


New State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) and Benefit Maximum for Paid Family Leave

Washington’s average annual wage grew by 5.9% in 2023 to $89,138, according to the state Employment Security Department.

Employment Security uses the average annual wage to calculate paid family and medical leave benefits for new claims filed on or after January 1, 2025. Based on an average weekly wage of $1,714 in 2023, the maximum weekly paid leave benefit will be $1,542 (up from $1,456) for new claims filed on or after January 1, 2025. The minimum weekly paid leave benefit will remain at its current amount, which is $100.



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