The State of Vermont has hired The Hartford Insurance Company to create the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan (“VT-FMLI Plan”), a voluntary paid family and medical leave program. The intent of the VT-FMLI Plan is to give all working Vermonters access to paid family and medical leave insurance. On July 1, 2024, the VT-FMLI Plan will expand from State employees only to include private and non-state public employers with two or more employees.
The State has partnered with The Hartford Insurance Company to create the VT-FMLI Plan. The VT-FMLI Plan will be rolled out in three phrases. Phase 1 begins July 1, 2023, with benefits only for State of Vermont employees. Phase 2 begins July 1, 2024. At that point, the program will expand to private and non-state public employers with two or more employees. Phase 3 begins July 1, 2025. This is the final phase of the program and employers with one employee or self-employed individuals will have the ability to opt in.
Program Funding Details
The VT-FMLI Plan will be funded by both employers and employees who opt in. Currently, details regarding how the program will be funded have not been released. To help make the benefits more affordable, the program will be anchored by the State employee workforce. When phase 2 begins, employers can work with their benefits brokers and The Hartford to select from a number of plan design options that allow them to best support the needs of their employees and their business, if they choose to participate. Currently, individual employees will not be able to opt in if their employer has not opted into the program.
What is Covered Under the VT-FMLI Plan?
The VT-FMLI Plan will provide enrolled employees with sixty percent (60%) wage replacement for six weeks for the following life events:
- The birth of a child and to care for a newborn child during the first year after birth.
- An employee’s adoption of a child or placement from foster care within the first year of initial placement.
- Caring for the employee’s spouse, child, stepchild, foster child, ward who lives with the employee, parent or parent of the employee’s spouse.
- Any qualifying exigency where the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”
- To care for a covered service-member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service-member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
- A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.
What Should Employers Do?
Gravel & Shea, PC will continue monitoring new information regarding opt-in procedures and will forward that information as it becomes available. Currently, non-state public employers and private employers with more than two employees will not be eligible for the program until July 1, 2024. Until then, employers should consider revising their current leave plans and begin considering whether opting into this plan may be right for them.
Please contact Heather Hammond (email@example.com) at Gravel & Shea PC if you have questions or would like assistance.