By Elizabeth Driscoll, KMA Consultant

New Hampshire has established the Granite State Paid Family Leave Program, which was included in the recently passed state budget. The effective date of the law is July 1, 2021 with coverage available by January 1, 2023.

This is a unique approach to providing paid family and medical leave that we have not yet seen in other states. Unlike with other programs, the Granite State Paid Family Leave Program is voluntary. It also provides for the following:

  • Family and medical leave benefits for state employees.
  • Non-state employers may choose to provide family and medical leave insurance. Both public employers as well as private employers with more than 50 employees can opt in, with tax credits provided.
  • Employers that opt in must continue health insurance during the leave and are required to participate in payroll deductions, as well as provide protection from discrimination and retaliation for utilizing the benefits.
  • Individuals may also opt in if they work for employers who choose not to offer the coverage or do not offer equivalent coverage.

Reasons for leave include the following:

  • The birth of a child and the care of the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and the care of the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • Caring for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; or
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is a covered military member on covered active duty, or caring for a covered service-member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service-member’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.
  • Employee’s serious health condition (for individuals who opt in if the employer does not opt in or offer short-term disability insurance)

Benefits Provided

Eligible employees shall receive 60 percent of their average weekly wage for up to 6 weeks per year.

Employer Action

Employers should consider this program to determine if they want to opt in and create or revise policies, including the employee right to opt in if the employer does not either opt in or offer equivalent coverage.

KMA will watch for developments on this new program and share updates.

Have questions on paid leave compliance or other employment questions? Call KMA today!