The Paid Family Leave Coalition is continuing to work on the implementation of the new law passed in this year’s budget which takes effect on January 1, 2018. The coalition has had discussions with the Governor’s staff about issues related to the rollout of the program. Some of these issues include outreach and notification of the public and working with employers to publicize it. These discussions will include the language about the program that should be used by employers in any written employee benefit materials. Also, there will need to be information materials explaining the differences between the TDI (Temporary Disability Insurance) program, the federal non-paid Family and Medical Leave Act and how the new program interacts with paid sick days and vacation time.
A number of state agencies including the Department of Health, the Department of Labor, the Department of Financial Services, the Workers’ Compensation Board and others are working on regulations for the program. The regulations are expected to be issued this fall, perhaps as early as September, and will include a public comment period. The agencies are also reviewing the best practices in the handful of states which have been operating paid family leave programs for several years.
The Governor’s office seems eager to publicize the program this fall with key groups which might be benefit. In addition to labor unions, and child care groups, it is important for the aging and caregiver networks to be involved as outreach plans are developed. Local offices for the aging should be involved in the outreach and publicity since all are responsible for family caregiver programs which they either run themselves or subcontract to other local nonprofits. Hospitals and health providers need to be involved especially with education that can be provided by discharge planners and hospital social workers.
The Paid Family Leave Coalition will look to take part in information sessions for aging and caregiver advocates, perhaps at existing fall meetings of these groups. If your organization wants to take part, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org since I am still serving on the steering committee for the coalition.