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Aim for Equity to Meet PFML Needs

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.

Think about these examples of PFML inequity:

  • 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 taking care of your employees can lead to advantages for your business, 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 organization do to make your benefits more equitable? Remember, small changes can go a long way. Here are four areas to explore:

1. Employer-sponsored benefits. Look into making these helpful benefits available to your employees:

  • Short term disability
  • Long term disability
  • Paid family care

Choose 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. Create or adjust these policies to bridge the equity gap in contribution amounts.

Have PFML?

A financial building

Create a bank allowing employee to top up PFML (where permitted by law)


A hand holding a bag of money

Build donation programs between employees


A calendar

Set time accrual based on hours or years of service


An ambulance

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.

  • Offer alternative schedules, hybrid work settings and remote work.
  • Increase scheduling flexibility and predictability.
  • Look at shorter work weeks.


4. Communications. Get information to your employees in ways that foster equity and inclusivity. PFML guides and benefit sessions can be helpful. Make sure your 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 your PFML strategy and the law


Looking for more information about PFML? Visit our PFML Resource Center.


Content Topics

More About Paid Family Leave

Learn about Last Thing Discussed — a podcast that takes a closer look into the topics that matter most to human resources professionals and how they can provide the best benefits package and resources to employees.
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