President Biden Supports Federal Paid Family and Medical Leave
Written by Complete Payroll
President Joe Biden expressed his support for a nationwide Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program during his State of the Union address on February 7, 2023. His statement comes at a historic moment when the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is just hitting its 30th anniversary, and Biden advised, “Let’s finish the job.”
The president previously emphasized his desire for PFML during a press conference on February 2. That day, the White House released a fact sheet explaining the Biden-Harris administration’s support for the program and what it could mean for U.S. employers and their employees.
Here’s what you need to know about PFML, including how it could impact your life and workplace.
What is President Biden’s Plan for Paid Family and Medical Leave?
The President's vision for the PFML gives workers expanded access to leave when they need it for family support, surviving illnesses, and coping with life challenges. He issued a Presidential Memorandum supporting increased leave for federal employees when:
- Bonding with a new child
- Addressing serious health conditions
- Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
- Helping manage family affairs related to active-duty service
- Grieving after the death of a family member
The memorandum also encourages “safe leave” procedures to support people who are dealing with serious life circumstances, including:
- Seeking safety from domestic violence
- Recovering from domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
- Obtaining medical treatment related to surviving violence
- Seeking relocation and/or taking related legal action
The White House explains that these protections are natural extensions of existing FMLA protections, like those for military personnel and people battling cancer. The Biden-Harris administration will also continue to support greater economic security for pregnant and nursing workers, those in need of child care, and victims of sexual harassment and assault.
What Does This Mean in the Workplace?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), federal agencies will lead the way under Biden’s plan. Other organizations can look to these federal agencies as guideposts for how PFML will impact the workplace.
Depending on your state, you may also already have statewide PFML guidelines in place. California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, New York, and Michigan are among the states with existing PFML policies beyond the FMLA. States like Delaware and Maryland also have newly enacted PFML changes coming in 2025.
Now is the right time to review your organization’s policies and ensure they fully comply with existing FMLA rules and can adapt to Biden’s new PFML guidelines. Here are some questions to consider.
- Are you helping your employees understand leave policies, including related employee benefits and expectations?
- Does your state have statewide PFML laws in addition to federal rules?
- Is your organization complying with relevant laws, like those requiring covered employers to contribute to state funds for employee benefits? What about payroll taxes and/or weekly premiums you should be paying?
- Do you have HR and payroll procedures in place to handle leaves smoothly without unnecessary interruptions?
When You Need Support, Complete Payroll Can Help.
As you can see, there’s a lot to learn about new and existing employee leave policies. In addition to helping your employees understand their rights, you must stay ahead of payroll and HR policies impacting how your organization operates.
If you need more guidance and support, Complete Payroll has you covered. Visit our blog for helpful information, or contact us to learn how we take the pain out of payroll.