Partners for Our Children

Sponsored by Representative Green, this bill defines family and medical leave as leave for a family member’s serious health condition, leave for the birth or placement of a child, and leave for the individual’s serious health condition. The department may require that an individual attest that he or she is not earning waiting period credits or receiving  benefits under applicable federal or state crime victims’ compensation, unemployment compensation, industrial insurance, or disability insurance laws in order to receive these benefits. The individual’s serious health condition cannot be the result of the individual’s perpetration of a gross misdemeanor or felony in the previous 52 consecutive weeks and the department may require that a claim for benefits be supported by a certification issued by a health care provider.

The maximum number of weeks during which family and medical leave insurance benefits are payable is 12 weeks for leave for a family member’s serious health condition and for the birth or placement of a child, plus 12 weeks for the individual’s serious health condition. An individual’s weekly benefit will be equal to 5.2% of the average quarterly wages of the individual’s total wages during the two quarters of the individual’s qualifying year in which such total wages were highest. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,000. An employee is entitled to family and medical leave if their employer has 25 or more employees and the individual has been employed for at least six months and six hundred fifty hours of service during the previous six-month period.

Each employer will pay a premium to the department based on the amount of the employee’s wages and will make reports and furnish information to the department. Employers do not have to pay for family and medical leave benefits for an employee who has worked for the employer for 15 weeks or less, and was laid off at the end of temporary employment when that individual temporarily replaced a permanent employee receiving family and medical leave insurance benefits, and the layoff was due to the return of that permanent employee. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, a credit is allowed toward the tax imposed for the first 24 months following the hire date of the employer’s first employee.

Substitute bill:  The substitute bill modifies the business and occupation (B&O) tax credit provision to: eliminate the requirement that the 50 or fewer employees be within a 75-mile radius of an employee’s worksite; provide that the 50 or fewer employees is determined by considering all worksites; allow credits to be carried over into a subsequent tax reporting period; and add administrative provisions.  In addition, the substitute bill allows the same credit provided for B&O taxpayers for taxpayers who pay the public utility tax in lieu of the B&O tax.  Housekeeping changes are made, including clarifying that the premium is paid to the Employment Security Department.