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New Hampshire Paid Medical and Family Leave Plan: Pioneering in Granite State

The New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave Plan (NH PFML), also known as the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan, is the first and only state-sponsored voluntary paid leave plan. Eligible New Hampshire employers (public employers and private employers with more than fifty employees) and eligible employees are eligible to purchase the NH PFML insurance plan. (State employees are only entitled to paid family leave.) NH PFML offers covered employees up to 60% of their average weekly salary, up to the maximum Social Security salary, up to six weeks per year, plus seven calendar days. unpaid waiting period per year, for absences from work for guaranteed events. Covered events include:

  • the birth or adoption of a child or the care of a newborn or a newly adopted or fostered child during the first year;
  • caring for a spouse, child or parent of an employee with a serious medical condition;
  • caring for a spouse, child or relative in the military;
  • military requirement; and
  • a serious personal medical condition independent of employment, if the employer does not offer short-term disability insurance.

Employees can take continuous or intermittent leaves with a minimum of four-hour blocks. Employers who opt into the program are required to participate in payroll deductions and maintain employee health insurance coverage while on leave. Employers with fifty or more workers who provide NH PFML to their employees are required to reinstate furloughed employees to the position they held prior to the leave, or to an equivalent position in accordance with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act ( FMLA) or the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Leave insurance under NH Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 275:37-d.

What options do employers have under the NH PFML?

Employers who purchase NH PFML insurance from New Hampshire’s PFML Insurance Partner, either directly or through an insurance agent, broker or consultant, are eligible for credit business tax (BET) of up to 50% of their bonus payments. Granite State employers have several options to consider, including whether to fully fund premium costs for employees, share premium costs with their employees, or pass the entire premium costs on to employees. Although New Hampshire Department of Insurance regulations allow other insurance companies to seek approval to provide paid family and medical leave benefit plans, employers who underwrite other insurance plans paid family and medical leave or equivalent employer coverage will not be eligible for BET credit.

The NH PFML plan is still evolving and there are still uncertainties about its implementation. Some sources suggest that employers will have the option of offering six or twelve weeks of paid leave, and others suggest only six weeks. The twelve-week option would apply only to employers offering group insurance, if at all. Individual plans and state employees are only entitled to six weeks, plus an unpaid waiting period of seven calendar days.

What options do employees have under the NH PFML?

Eligible employees can purchase NH PFML for themselves 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 salary replacement at 60%, and premiums are capped at $5 per week or $260 per year. Employees on an individual insurance plan are subject to a seven-month waiting period before submitting claims and must exhaust a period of seven unpaid calendar days once per benefit period before benefits can be paid.

When does registration start?

The registration period for employers begins on December 1, 2022 and will remain open. For individual plans, the registration period begins on January 1, 2023 and will remain open until March 2, 2023.

Key points to remember

It’s the first voluntary state-paid family and medical leave scheme in the country, allowing employees who wish to participate to apply for state-paid leave without requiring the payment of bonuses for retiring employees. Employers can participate and offer at least six weeks of paid vacation. If employers choose not to participate in the NH PFML plan, employees can sign up for individual insurance plans that provide six weeks of paid vacation, subject to a seven-month waiting period. Registration begins for employers on December 1, 2022 and will be available on an ongoing basis. Employee enrollment begins January 1, 2023 and ends March 2, 2023.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on guidance regarding the NH PFML plan and post updates on Benefits and executive compensation, Authorized leavesand New Hampshire blogs as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the online seminar and podcast programs.

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