Help Clients Aim for PFML Equity
Paid Family and Medical Leave laws are helping many workers take time off to care for their families or themselves. But PFML laws have also introduced the potential for benefit inequity.
Only 25% of employees in the United States have access to paid family and medical leave.1 That leaves a majority of Americans without this valuable benefit. And in states that offer PFML, the details and rules for eligibility can vary tremendously.
As you help your clients navigate the PFML landscape, share these examples of potential inequities:
- Contribution inequity: Contributions to PFML can be split between employers and employees at differing percentages.
- Benefit amount: States vary in the percentage of an employee’s salary that’s paid out as PFML.
- Duration: The duration of PFML benefits may be 12 weeks in some states and 26 weeks in others.
- Eligibility: PFML eligibility can be based on time worked, hours worked or money earned, depending on state law.
Minimizing inequity can take some work. But remind your clients that taking care of their employees can lead to advantages for their businesses, too:
- Helps attract and keep talented employees
- Ensures a competitive benefits package
- Helps improve the well-being of employees and their families
- Can increase employee engagement
Move Toward Equity
What can your clients do to help make their benefits more equitable? Small changes can go a long way. Encourage them to explore these four areas:
1. Employer-sponsored benefits. They can help employees by making these benefits available:
- Short term disability
- Long term disability
- Paid family care
Talk to them about partnering with a disability carrier that seamlessly integrates benefits and absence management support. Learn more about a holistic approach with our Workplace PossibilitiesSM program.
2. Paid-time policies. Clients can create or adjust these policies to bridge the equity gap in contribution amounts.
Create a bank allowing employee to top up PFML (where permitted by law)
Build donation programs between employees
Set time accrual based on hours or years of service
Offer emergency pay or flextime
3. Flexibility. Pay attention to ways you can offer flexibility to employees. Ask them what they need and start by making small changes.
- Encourage your clients to ask employees what they need and start by making small changes.
- Offer alternative schedules, hybrid work settings and remote work.
- Increase flexibility and predictability in scheduling.
- Look at shorter work weeks.
4. Communications. Ensure clients are getting information to their employees in ways that foster equity and inclusivity. PFML guides and benefit sessions can be helpful.
Ask them to check that their PFML program:
- Follows the law while allowing equal access
- Reaches multilingual employees
- Meets accessibility rules so employees of all abilities can benefit
- Highlights eligibility for employees based on their work state
- Adjusts to changes in PFML strategy and the law
Looking for more information about PFML to share with clients? Visit our PFML Resource Center.