By the end of 2022, multiple states will have already implemented a state paid leave program. Changes for 2023 are coming down the line as well.
As an employer, extra attention and compliance efforts are needed from you to maintain awareness on how these impact your business. Early education will help reduce the risk of incurring hefty fines. While we are nearly two years out from these, if the forethought of the impacted states is any indication, you may need every minute of it to prepare.
From understanding or simply keeping up-to-date, here are three critical steps that will help you navigate and maximize success in the wake of these upcoming changes.
Step 1: Getting educated
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.– Benjamin Franklin
The first step to creating a successful paid leave program is understanding the various state paid leaves and how they impact your business. Depending on the size and regional scope of your business, this can be a heavy, yet necessary undertaking. This step can be broken down into three components:
Understanding the impact of and differences between state disability, paid family leave (PFL), and paid family & medical leave (PFML)
As a baseline, you will need to know what to expect upon implementation of a new state/municipal plan. Additionally, knowing the view-through of pre and post-statutory implementations will be important. What are the advantages? What are key adjustments needed?
Evaluating your level of confidence in keeping up with all of the changes
If your company has employees in multiple states, how confident are you in your ability to follow these? Do you have the resources to keep up internally? What is at stake if you are not able to comply in time? Will this means fines for your business? Other factors such as employee attrition may need to be reviewed.
Gathering resources providing the best education on these changes
The most obvious resource is the state itself. Each state will have its own legislation, even if it mirrors another state’s plan. A great example of this comes from Connecticut, where they built the ctpaidleave.org site specifically as a resource for their state paid leave program. As an employer, you can register with each of the state agencies overseeing paid leave.
Step 2: Planning and program set-up
Your future will be good, if you arrange well the present. — Isokrates
After acquiring a baseline understanding of how your disability and leave programs are impacted by the different states today, it’s time to start looking ahead. Way ahead.
Here’s how you can start:
Setting your program up to maintain compliance
Who within your HR team can own and share compliance knowledge? How will that team member partner with your employees and your TPA? Identifying a resource helps implement the changes more smoothly and helps education stay consistent.
Identifying overlaps with other existing leave programs
Who within your HR team can own and share compliance knowledge? How will that team member partner with your employees and your TPA? Identifying a resource helps implement the changes more smoothly and helps education stay consistent. Do you need to adjust or even stop your company paid leave where the state paid leave is created or exists?
The decision of whether to create a private plan or use the state plan (where applicable) is a complex one. If you identified an internal resource, they can then educate your team and you can make an informed decision.
Setting up an internal tracking program that's ready upon implementation
For organizations self-administering leave, most are often utilizing manual spreadsheets and at the mercy of when the document was last updated. Your program’s ongoing and future success will need to navigate through your time systems and payroll first to get you to a strong start.
Step 3: Keeping updated
The Only Constant in Life Is Change. - Heraclitus
Planned, set-up, and on your way? It doesn't end there. As you’ve seen, paid leave is expanding to more and more states every year. In addition, a federal paid leave program is likely in the near future. What can you do to stay up-to-date as your program goes into action?
Keeping an eye on upcoming changes inside and outside your business
You’ve set up the states that adopted PFL and PFML early. Now you know how much work it takes to keep up with all the legislation from state to state. Additionally, you’ll want to keep up with the active states, as their newly minted programs may change.
What does the utilization of your programs look like?
Utilization isn’t easily explained in a one size fits all model. Understanding the “whos”, “whys” and “whens” of absenteeism are key to forecasting a successful business. Monitoring how employees are using programs is important from not only an employee well-being perspective, “but also to ensure continuity in your business and avoid devastating interruptions. Can you answer the questions of: Are increases in utilization an effect of internal initiatives? Are decreases in utilization a result of employees not taking time for fear of repercussion?
How are you measuring the success of your program?
The old adage of “what gets measured gets managed” has a place here. If you’ve built a well-performing tracking program, you can make decisions on how to optimize different components of your leave programs.
At Broadspire, we believe data becomes valuable when it informs and drives program improvement. We are geared towards looking for advanced ways to analyze data, find new insights, and share those findings with our customers.
If handled incorrectly, employee leave programs can result in financial strain and dissatisfied employees. We are here to help support you with integrated and standalone disability and absence management programs customized to meet your needs. For more information on how we can help you today, contact us.