A brief update on what happened the prior month in group health plan compliance at the state and local level, listed alphabetically. If you would like additional information, please reach out to the GBS Compliance Team.
Alabama new family leave law goes into effect July 1, 2022. The Alabama “Adoption Promotion Act” requires qualifying employers (generally those with 50+ employees) to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or care of a child during the first year after the child’s birth or placement of an adopted child with the employee.
San Francisco amended Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO) goes into effect July 12, 2022. San Francisco expanded FFWO to guarantee flexible or predictable work arrangements for employees with qualifying caregiver responsibilities. Effective July 12, 2022, any employer with 20 or more employees working in or teleworking out of San Francisco must grant covered employees a flexible or predictable working arrangement upon request—absent undue hardship—to assist with caregiving duties at home. See the San Francisco FFWO webpage for additional information. Final rules interpreting the FFWO were also released on July 7.
Grants available for small employers that have increased costs due to compliance with California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. California’s PFL program provides eligible employees with up to 8 weeks of paid leave. Small businesses in CA with 1-100 employees who have at least one employee utilizing PFL on or after June 1, 2022, may be eligible for a grant to help offset increased costs such as cross-training existing staff and hiring and training new and/or temporary employees to cover for employees on leave. Employers interested in applying for the grant can apply through the grant website.
Colorado employers must continue to provide paid COVID leave. On July 15, 2022, HHS extended the federal public health declaration for at least three more months. Under the CO Healthy Families Workplaces and Families Act (HFWA), paid leave for COVID related situations must be provided for the duration of the public health emergency (whether federal or state) and for an additional four weeks after the public health emergency expires. Under the HFWA, employees are allowed two weeks (up to 80 hours) total of paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members due to a COVID-related illness until the end of the public health emergency period. See the CO HFWA webpage for up-to-date information and guidance. The HFWA webpage will be updated to reflect the end of the public health emergency, whenever that occurs.
Colorado law strengthens compliance obligations under hospital price transparency laws. Governor Polis signed HB 22-1285 (“Prohibit Collection Hospital Not Disclosing Prices”). The bill prohibits a hospital or other person or entity collecting on behalf of the hospital from initiating or pursuing collection actions against a patient or patient guarantor for debt incurred by the patient on the date or dates of service when the hospital was not in material compliance with federal hospital price transparency laws. HB 22-1285 also creates a private right of action for a patient to bring a lawsuit against a hospital if the hospital initiates or pursues a collection action against the patient and the patient believes the hospital was not in material compliance with the price transparency laws on the date the patient received the services from the hospital.
New Delaware paid leave law. The Healthy Delaware Families Act (HDFA) was recently signed into law and creates a paid family and medical leave insurance program. The HDFA is designed to offer paid leave benefits to employees starting in 2026 for up to 12 weeks of parental leave and up to six weeks of leave for medical or family caregiver leave. This new benefit is funded through employee payroll deductions set to begin in January 2025. Employers with employees working in Delaware are covered under the HDFA, but the obligations to provide paid leave varies based on employer size. For example, employers with fewer than 10 Delaware employees are not required to provide paid leave under the HDFA, but may opt in if they choose. Employers with 10–24 employees must contribute, but only the paid parental leave portion applies. Employers with 25+ employees must provide parental, family caregiver, and medical leave. A covered employee is an individual who primarily reports to work at a Delaware work site. Future regulations will be issued offering greater detail on the requirements under the HDFA.
New legislation and executive orders increase the scrutiny of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in an effort to reduce costs and increase transparency. On July 8, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order designed to lower prescription costs, provide more transparency, and increase the scrutiny of PBMs. HB 357 also went into effect on July 1 that increases the oversight of PBMs.
Michigan minimum wage and paid sick leave laws in limbo. On July 19, a Michigan court reinstated Michigan’s original 2018 voter-initiated versions of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Ace (IWOWA) and the Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA). The court held that the “adopt-and-amend” strategy the Michigan Legislature used to enact an amended version of the IWOWA and PMLA was unconstitutional. This reversion to the original ballot initiatives would increase Michigan’s minimum wage rate to $12 per hour and significantly expand the paid sick leave employers must provide to eligible employees. However, on July 29, the same Michigan court issued a stay of its July 19 decision. The stay will be in place until February 19, 2023. This means that the adopted and amended versions of IWOWA and PMLA will remain in place for now. Employers do not need to take any action for now but may want to keep an eye on this case given the significant differences between the amended versions of the laws that are currently in effect (and will remain in effect during the stay) and the original ballot initiatives. See the Michigan Wage and Hour webpage for more information on IWOWA and PMLA.
NY extends paid leave for COVID vaccinations through December 31, 2023. New York Labor Law Section 196-C provides up to four hours of paid leave for New York employees to receive a COVID vaccine. Section 196-C was recently extended to remain in effect through December 31, 2023.