New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave (NH PFML) plan coverage begins January 1, 2023, and employer open enrollment begins December 1, 2022. New Hampshire has selected Metropolitan Life (MetLife) as the state insurance partner. The NH PFML plan is the first voluntary, state-sponsored plan in the country and is available to all New Hampshire employers and employees.
New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave Qualifying Events
Employers and employees (if the employer does not provide NH PFML or an equivalent benefit) may purchase insurance to provide wage replacement benefits up to 60% of an employee’s wages (up to the Social Security wage cap) for up to six (6) weeks per year for absences from work due to qualifying life events. The qualifying events for New Hampshire paid Family and Medical Leave include:
- Serious health condition not covered by disability (includes childbirth)
- Bonding with a child during its first year (includes adoption, fostering)
- Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
- Demands or needs regarding an active duty spouse, child, or parent
- Caring for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if spouse, child, parent, or next of kin
New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave Tax Credits
Employers who participate and purchase plan coverage through MetLife are eligible for a Business Enterprise Tax Credit (BET) equal to 50% of the NH PFML insurance premium that they pay. While employers can choose to offer a plan duration of twelve (12) weeks of paid leave, the BET credit will only be calculated on the premiums payable by the employer for the 6-week plan duration.
Employers may fully fund the premium cost, assign the full cost to the employee, or allocate the cost between the employer and employee in the configuration of its choosing. According to the NH PFML website, the cost of the plan for employers will be determined by “work[ing] directly with MetLife to customize NH PFML Insurance and premium to meet their business needs within regulatory parameters set by the state.” The BET credit is not applied to premiums payable by employees.
Is New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave Mandatory?
New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave is a voluntary program. Employers are not obligated to participate in the plan. However, employers are required to support the NH PFML insurance claims process.
However, even if employers choose not to participate, they still need to support the claims process for their covered workers by providing wage and leave information, work schedules, and other benefit information as requested by MetLife.
New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave Alternatives
If employers want to provide paid family and medical leave benefits to their employees, but do not want to purchase coverage from MetLife, then they can provide other paid family and medical insurance leave plans approved by the NH Department of Insurance or provide self-insured equivalent benefit coverage. However, if employers elect not to purchase coverage through MetLife, they’re not eligible for the BET credit.
New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave Payroll Deductions
For employers with 50 or more employees, worker premium payments must be collected via payroll deduction, even if workers purchase coverage under a NH PFML individual plan. If the employer assumes the total cost of the premiums for its employees, then payroll deduction is not required. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to restore workers to the position they held or its equivalent (pre-leave) when such leave is over, and must continue to provide health insurance during periods of leave, with employees continuing to meet their share of costs associated with such coverage.
Employers with less than 50 employees are not required to utilize payroll deductions to collect worker premium payments, and can make payment arrangements directly through MetLife. If smaller employers choose not to offer coverage and their employees enroll in individual coverage, then these employees will be responsible for their own premium payments.
Under the NH PFML plan, there is an unpaid waiting period of one week prior to benefits being paid, and a seven (7) month waiting period before an employee becomes eligible to submit a claim for benefits. Under the plan, premiums cannot exceed $5.00 per week, and leave may be taken on either a continuous or intermittent basis, in at least four (4) hour increments.
For more information, please visit the NH PFML website for employers.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.