December 2022: New Hampshire’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Plan To Go Into Effect in 2023

01 Dec

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of New Hampshire.

What happened?
On June 1, 2021, the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan, also known as the New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave (NH PHML), was signed into law, which provides participating employees a specific percentage of the average weekly wage for specified leaves of absence from the workplace.

What are the details?
Starting January 1, 2023, NH PFML provides participating New Hampshire workers with 60% of their average weekly wage (up to the Social Security wage cap) for up to six weeks per year for specified leaves of absence from the workplace. Participating employees will have covered leave for events such as:

  • The birth or adoption of a child or caring for a newborn or newly adopted or fostered child for the first year;
  • Care for an employee’s spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • Care for a spouse, child, or parent in the military;
  • Military exigency; and
  • A personal serious health condition that is independent of employment if the employer does not offer short-term disability insurance.

Employees may take continuous or intermittent leave with a minimum of four-hour increments. Employers opting into the program must participate in payroll deductions and continue employee health insurance coverage during the leave. Employers with fifty or more workers that provide NH PFML to their employees are required to return employees taking leave to the position held before such leave or to an equivalent position under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Family and Medical Leave Insurance under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 275:37-d.

What options do employers have under the NH PFML?
Employers that purchase NH PFML insurance from New Hampshire’s PFML insurance partner, either directly or through an insurance agent, broker, or consultant, are eligible for a business enterprise tax (BET) credit of up to 50 percent of their premium payments. Granite State employers have several options to consider, including whether to fund the premium costs for employees fully, split the premium costs with their employees, or pass the full premium costs on to employees. While the New Hampshire Insurance Department’s regulations allow other insurance companies to seek approval to provide paid family and medical leave benefit plans, employers that purchase other paid family and medical leave insurance plans or employer equivalent coverage will not qualify for the BET credit.

The NH PFML plan is still evolving, and there is lingering uncertainty about its implementation. Some sources suggest that employers can offer six or twelve weeks of paid leave, while others suggest only six weeks. The twelve-week option would apply only to employers providing group insurance, if at all. Individual plans and state employees are entitled to six weeks only, plus a seven-calendar day unpaid elimination period.

What options do employees have under the NH PFML?
Eligible employees may purchase NH PFML if their employers do not provide NH PFML insurance or an equivalent benefit. The NH PFML individual insurance plan provides employees with six weeks of 60 percent wage replacement, and premium payments are capped at $5 per week or $260 annually. Employees with individual insurance plans are subject to a seven-month waiting period before submitting claims. They must exhaust a seven-calendar-day unpaid period once per benefit period before benefits may be paid.

When does enrollment begin?
The enrollment period for employers begins on December 1, 2022, and will remain open. For individual plans, the enrollment period begins on January 1, 2023, and will remain open through March 2, 2023.

For more information, please see the links below:

New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave (NH PHML)

New Hampshire Press Release (June 29, 2022)

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, and employers may participate and offer at least six weeks of paid leave. Suppose employers elect not to participate in the NH PFML plan. In that case, employees may purchase individual insurance plans that provide six weeks of paid leave, subject to a seven-month waiting period.

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