New Hampshire PFML: Voluntary Paid Family Leave in the Granite State

New Hampshire joined 11 other states in early 2023 when it offered employees paid family and medical leave. New Hampshire PFML is unique, though. It’s the only state PFML program in the country that’s voluntary. What does it mean to have a voluntary PFML program? Read on for a Q&A about the new program and get answers to your questions.

Quick recap of family leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that affects employers with 50 or more employees. Under the FMLA, employers must provide unpaid time off for family and medical leave and protect employees’ jobs until they return to work. 

Since the FMLA was created, state-mandated paid family leave has spread across the country. Several states, like California and Connecticut, now have their own paid family leave laws.

What’s the main difference between the FMLA and state-mandated paid family leave? Unlike the FMLA, paid family leave pays employees a percentage of their wages while they are away from work for qualifying events. 

New Hampshire PFML FAQs

New Hampshire paid family and medical leave is the only voluntary PFML program in the U.S. Employees and employers can choose to opt-in to the program but aren’t required to. 

Read on for New Hampshire PFL FAQs. 

New Hampshire PFML is a voluntary program that provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for qualifying events.

What is New Hampshire PFML?

New Hampshire paid family and medical leave is a state-sponsored, voluntary family leave program that replaces employee wages when an employee takes leave for qualifying events. It also provides job protection for employees. Employers with 50 or more employees must restore a worker’s position before their leave or give them an equivalent position consistent with the job restoration provisions of the FMLA.  

All New Hampshire employers and employees can choose to purchase PFML insurance. 

There are a few notable differences in New Hampshire’s PFML plan when purchased by an employer and when purchased by an employee.

Employers purchasing New Hampshire PFML 

New Hampshire’s PFML insurance combines paid family and paid medical leave in a single insurance policy that:

  • Replaces 60% of an employee’s wages when they take leave for qualifying life events
  • Allows for leave to be taken on a flexible schedule (all at once or intermittently with a minimum of four-hour increments)
  • Provides two options for the duration of employee leave, either six or 12 weeks

Employees purchasing New Hampshire PFML

The New Hampshire PFML individual plan is different from the employer plan. Employees can participate in New Hampshire paid family leave if their employers don’t provide PFL insurance or an equivalent plan. Employees can enroll now through March 2, 2023. 

The NH PFML individual plan includes:

  • Six weeks of wage replacement at 60% of regular employee income for qualifying life events
  • A seven-month waiting period before a claim can be submitted
  • A single unpaid work week before benefits are paid
  • Leave that can be taken on a flexible schedule (all at once or intermittently with a minimum of four-hour increments)
  • Premiums of no more than $5 a week

What are the qualifying events covered by New Hampshire’s PFML?

New Hampshire’s PFML program covers a range of employee life events, including:

  • An employee’s serious health condition that isn’t covered by disability coverage
  • Bonding with a new child from birth, adoption, or fostering
  • Serious health conditions of a family member
  • Military deployment or service
  • Caring for a qualifying military service member

How can employers enroll in the program?

Again, employers can choose to participate in the New Hampshire PFL.

Employers can enroll in an NH PFML group plan whenever they’d like.

Employers can choose to cover the entire premium cost, split it with their employees, or pass the total cost to their workers. 

New Hampshire has partnered with MetLife to facilitate the state’s PFML program. The employer purchasing process starts when they request a quote from MetLife. 

Employers can also purchase New Hampshire PFML insurance through other providers or purchase insurance plans that qualify as equivalent benefit coverage.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

All participating employers must take part in the claims process, handle worker questions, direct employees to MetLife, and provide all employee wage and leave information to MetLife. 

Employers have additional obligations depending on the size of their company:

  • Employers of 50 or more employees enrolled in the program must pay New Hampshire PFML insurance premiums through payroll deductions.
    • Large employers that don’t provide PFML (or an equivalent program) must collect premium payments through payroll deduction for all employees enrolled in NH PFML.  
  • Small employers must make payment arrangements with MetLife.

Why should employers enroll in New Hampshire’s PFML program?

New Hampshire’s paid family and medical leave can help your employees and your business by:

  • Offering employees an attractive and affordable paid family leave program
  • Replacing employee wages in the case of a health crisis
  • Allowing employees to keep their jobs while on leave to care for themselves or loved ones
  • Reducing employee turnover, increasing retention, and improving morale

And if employers purchase six weeks of coverage for their employees, they can receive a Business Enterprise Tax (BET) Credit equal to 50% of the insurance premiums they pay. Keep in mind that the BET credit only applies to employers who purchase insurance through New Hampshire’s partner MetLife. 

What qualifies as “equivalent benefit coverage?”

An equivalent plan is any plan (or combination of plans) that provides:

  • Coverage for all qualifying employee life events, including:
    • An employee’s serious health condition not covered by disability coverage
    • Bonding with a child during the first year of birth, or placement for adoption or fostering
    • Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
    • Any qualifying urgent need because an employee’s spouse, child, or parent is a military service member on active duty
    • Caring for a family member who is an active military service member with a serious injury or illness 
  • 60% wage replacement benefits up to the Social Security wage base
  • A minimum of six weeks of benefits for all qualifying leave
  • Ability to take leave continuously or intermittently (with a minimum of four-hour increments)

How much does PFML insurance cost?

Costs vary for employers and employees. Use the Employer Quote Calculator to get your quote.

Where can I go if I have any other questions?

If you have any additional questions, you can go to New Hampshire’s PFML webpage

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