Add Maryland to the growing list of states offering paid family and medical leave to many workers. As the federal government continues to discuss a U.S.-wide mandated paid family leave program, more state legislatures are introducing their own programs.
On April 9, 2022, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a broad-reaching PFML bill. The reasons an employee can take leave mirror New York’s legislation, which represented some of the broadest and best coverage in the country when it was introduced in 2017. Massachusetts and Connecticut then followed in New York’s footsteps.
The New York PFL plan was introduced in stages of increased benefits until 2021 saw the benefits fully phased in up to the maximum amount of $1068.36 per week for up to 12 weeks.
Maryland’s PFML benefits will become available January 1, 2025, but the state will begin collecting premiums on October 1, 2023. Benefits will begin at a $50 per week minimum, with a maximum of $1,000 weekly for up to 12 weeks in the first year. From there, maximum benefits will rise based on the state’s average weekly wage, with benefit caps announced for each year on September 1 of the prior year.
Maryland patterned its eligibility requirements after states like New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. It is likely that a federal PFML program will also follow these requirements. Under the Maryland PFML law, employees can take leave to:
Family members include children, parents, in-laws, spouses, siblings, grandchildren and grandparents. Maryland excludes domestic partners from coverage.
Every business, individual or government entity that employs at least one individual in Maryland must provide PFML benefits to all employees who have worked at least 680 hours in the 12-month period preceding their leave. That means part-time employees who clock at least 17 hours per week are eligible for leave.
Self-employed Maryland residents can elect to participate in PFML but must opt in for an initial minimum time of three years and can then choose to renew annually.
While all the details haven’t yet been outlined regarding employee and employer contributions, according to a report issued by insurance carrier SunLife, employers with more than 15 employees will be required to contribute to premiums.
Covered employees will be responsible for 75% of the premiums, although employers can elect to cover a portion of the employee’s premiums as an added benefit. In smaller organizations, employees will be responsible for 100% of the premium costs, as are self-employed program participants.
Employers will need to begin submitting premium payments, deducted from payroll, beginning in October 2023.
Employers have the option of establishing a private plan, either through a qualified carrier or on a self-insured basis. Private plans must provide the same or better benefits, rights, and protections with comparable or lower premiums and must be filed with and approved by the Maryland Department of Labor.
As PFML programs expand across the country, insurance brokers have more opportunities than ever before to build relationships and increase revenue with this statutory benefit. While PFML programs have not been the most profitable by themselves, statutory benefits represent a foot in the door to share knowledge and build trust.
Insurance brokers licensed in Maryland can help guide business owners through the process of establishing a PFML plan. Then, they can save those clients money by bundling ancillary benefits written through top insurance carriers.
The DBL Center has 45+ years of experience in the statutory market and has been on the cutting edge of New York PFL and other PFML programs from coast-to-coast since their inception. As your back office team, we can guide you to the best benefits packages for your clients, while the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app helps you stay on top of renewals, cancellations and commissions with just a few clicks.
Are you ready for Maryland PFML? We can help.
by Dawn Allcot
As major tech companies, including Twitter, Airbnb, DoorDash, and Reddit, advocate for federal paid family leave programs, more states are enacting legislation of their own.
Colorado recently joined New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California with a paid family and medical leave program. Called Colorado FAMLI (Family and Medical Leave Insurance), the program will provide benefits to employees to take time off to care for themselves or a loved one who meets certain criteria.
In line with programs in other states, Colorado workers can file for FAMLI to:
Eligible employees can claim up to 12 weeks of leave per year, according to the website famli.colorado.gov. Parents who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications may qualify for an additional four weeks of recovery time.
The state of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment provides a benefits and premium calculator for employers and employees here.
Benefits range from 37% to 90% of an employee’s weekly wage, depending on the employee’s income. Benefits max out at $1,100 weekly or $13,200 annually for employees in the top tier, who normally gross $2,000 or more per week.
According to a Fact Sheet issued by the CDLE, every employer must offer the benefit to their workers. Organizations with their own paid leave program in place can apply for an exemption.
Premiums equal 0.9% of an employee’s wage. Employers with 10 or more employees must pay at least half the premium due, or 0.45%, with the other half coming from employee payroll deductions. Employers will also have the option of paying the full amount of the benefit as an added perk and employee retention tool.
Employers with fewer than 10 employees do not have to contribute to the program but are responsible for remitting the employee’s share (0.45%) quarterly with money collected through payroll deductions.
The legislation goes into full effect on January 1, 2024, when employees can make claims and begin collecting benefits. Employers will need to begin submitted premiums to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment by January 1, 2023.
Specific details regarding carriers and self-insured options are not yet available.
Insurance brokers who already provide private DBL, TDB, or FMLA coverage in other states may want to start thinking about covering Colorado businesses and their employees, as well. Colorado business owners will be looking for brokers with knowledge, expertise, and a network of carriers who understand these complex benefits.
The CDLE recommends that Colorado business owners begin communicating with employees in Fall 2022 to prepare them for the payroll deductions and upcoming benefits. Internal communications such as employee handbooks should be updated with relevant information as it becomes available. By Fall 2023, the CDLE says Colorado business owners should have “clear guidance and communications to employees around FAMLI benefits.”
Insurance brokers who have helped employers implement successful PFL and FMLA programs in other states by providing them with affordable benefits and packages that bundle ancillary benefits with paid family leave have unique opportunities in Colorado. To set the stage for success, you can:
Finally, stay tuned to The DBL Center news section to read about breaking developments in Colorado FAMLI.
When the state of Connecticut introduced its Paid Family and Medical Leave act, it opened the door for business owners of any size to privatize their PFML coverage for cost savings. Connecticut business owners can save even more money by bundling Connecticut PFML benefits with ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D coverage.
Whether you’re writing Connecticut PFML for larger businesses or smaller companies ranging from 1 to 24 lives, The DBL Center is here to help.
Benefits go into effect January 1, 2022, but employers are considering their options for coverage through the state or a private plan, right now. The state of Connecticut has already started allowing employers to withhold payments for premiums. Businesses who wish to transfer to a private plan, effective July 1, 2021, have until June 30 to hold a vote and write a private policy.
DBL Center brokers can make it easy for their clients to write PFML in Connecticut by walking them through these three simple steps.
Unlike New York or New Jersey – who waived the signature requirement to privatize NJ Temporary Disability Insurance benefits – the state of Connecticut requires employees to vote on and approve a private plan.
Employers are responsible for complying with voting requirements and procedures. The DBL Center has been working with our network of carriers to simplify the process of privatizing PFML in Connecticut.
At least two weeks prior to the vote, Connecticut employers must provide all employees with a written description of the proposed private plan in “plain language.” The “plain language guide” should be reasonably capable of being understood by the document’s recipients. The plan can include details about additional benefits, examples of acceptable claims or payouts based on employee pay, and a list of the types of health care providers accepted by the plan.
Any language or details about the plan must be:
The DBL Center offers a free, downloadable “Plain Language Template” that Connecticut employers, HR departments, and benefits managers can modify and share in advance of the vote.
The Plain Language Guide first explains that the Plan is being offered as an alternative to the Connecticut Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program and gives all employees the same rights, protections and benefits as the state plan.
The Plain Language Guide describes:
Access the Plain Language Guide Template here.
No sooner than two weeks after the employer distributes the Plain Language Guide, employees can vote on the plan. Employers can use an easy online survey tool or a simple, one-question, handwritten ballot that asks if an employee approves of the private plan.
Once the vote takes place, if the proposed private plan is approved by a 50% + 1 majority of all employees (not just those who voted), the employer must file an Insurance Declarations document with the state.
The DBL Center was one of the first in the industry to report on Connecticut PFML laws. We are here to help Connecticut insurance brokers tap into this lucrative recurring revenue stream as Connecticut employees reap the benefits of a generous paid family and medical leave policy.
by Michael Cohen
In the past several years, Paid Family Medical Leave legislation has been sweeping across the Northeast. The DBL Center has been at the forefront of guiding brokers to make the most of this new revenue stream, which can be bundled with ancillary benefits to provide business owners with cost savings while brokers enjoy increased commissions.
As we increase our services in Connecticut and Massachusetts, especially, we’ve been expanding our base into New England with a physical presence in Connecticut. This allows us to service our New England brokers better with a local presence.
Brokers in Connecticut and Massachusetts have turned to The DBL Center in the past year to navigate Paid Family and Medical Leave in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We’ve been helping brokers manage PFL in NY since 2017, so we’re familiar with the transition. Most importantly, we can help brokers use statutory coverage as a springboard to sell highly profitable group ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and group life / AD&D.
However, as Connecticut and Massachusetts solidify their Paid Family and Medical leave legislation, there are bound to be nuances in the laws that make them different from New York. Already, Connecticut has different paperwork to fill out to privatize PFML in CT. And the definition of a “family member” that someone can take leave to care for hasn’t been fully defined, but it may be less restrictive than New York’s laws.
Learn more about Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave here in our resource center.
Having local insurance experts in New England that can focus exclusively on our New England brokers will allow The DBL Center to provide the same level of expert, personalized service across Massachusetts and Connecticut as we have been doing for 45+ years in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
As we focus on customer service and PFML in Connecticut and Massachusetts, we’ve brought on an industry expert with an office in Trumbull, Connecticut. Brian Dewey, the newest DBL Center Group Sales Representative, comes to us from major carriers Sun Life and Ameritas and has been a staple in Connecticut insurance for nearly a decade.
A Massachusetts native and Stonehill graduate with degrees in Economics and Finance, Dewey specializes in group ancillary benefits and will stay on top of the ever-evolving statutory benefits legislation in Connecticut, where he currently resides, and in his home state of Massachusetts.
With our extensive knowledge of Paid Family and Medical Leave coverage, The DBL Center is here to support New England brokers through the confusion of the first year of this new benefit and beyond. Brokers who take advantage of our white-glove, personalized service also gain access to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, helping you track renewals, cancellations, and commissions easily from any internet-enabled device.
Reach out to The DBL Center and Brian Dewey to learn more about how to help your customers save money by privatizing PFML in Connecticut today.
Find industry-leading videos, product demos, and insights
The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, has launched a new section of its website to keep insurance brokers up to date on the latest statutory and ancillary employee benefit insurance industry news.
Found in the drop-down menu of the About section on the website navigation bar, or in the drop down on the mobile site, “In the News” features:
The videos showcased on the page represent the culmination of DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen’s years of stage experience and his passion for performance. The insurance expert graduated from Boston University with a film degree and now finds a new outlet for his passion through his company’s many marketing and outreach initiatives. “I would have been a stand-up comedian if I didn’t go into insurance,” he says.
In the Meet the Team series of videos, Cohen interviews his staff, revealing their motivations, goals, and a few fun facts. Likewise, the Rep Roundtable series brings together top insurance carriers to discuss industry trends and tips for brokers. This short-form video podcast series launched in 2019 and achieved industry-wide recognition.
Brokers will also find overview videos of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to learn, step-by-step, how to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions from any internet-enabled device. Interested brokers can schedule a live demo of this cloud-based app using the easy-to-access chat feature directly on the page.
“Our In The News section brings together some of our most valuable media in one place, so you can browse easily during short spurts of down time,” Cohen says. “I hope visitors to our site will discover information, inspiration, and maybe even a laugh or two.”
About The DBL Center Ltd.
With 40+ years in the insurance industry, The DBL Center services 100,000 insured corporations through 4,000 brokers across 15 states as a wholesale insurance general agency. For more information, visit InsuranceWholesaler.net, call 800.325.2777 or connect with us on LinkedIn.
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Privatizing coverage through the Massachusetts State Family Medical Leave Act puts money in the pockets of Massachusetts business owners
Business owners who want to privatize paid family medical leave in Massachusetts have until October 1, 2020, to make their decision. The DBL Center has more than 40 years experience in the statutory benefits markets in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
As statutory benefits expand across New England, The DBL Center is available to help Massachusetts business owners save money. The DBL Center can write privatized policies with top insurance carriers, delivering cost savings and benefits equal to or greater than those underwritten through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Business owners must pay PFML premiums on policies written by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by October 1, 2020. But Massachusetts business owners who privatize paid family medical leave can defer MA PFML premiums for 2020 until January 1, 2021.
Deferring premiums on statutory PFML in Massachusetts helps free up cash for other expenses and leaves more money in employee’s paychecks.
Paid family leave benefits allow employees to care for:
Beginning July 1, 2021, PFML in MA will also cover time off to care for any family member with a serious health condition.
Privatized paid family and medical leave plans in Massachusetts must provide benefits equal to or better than the state plan.
“Massachusetts business owners who write their PFML policies with The DBL Center will save money and also benefit from the white-glove service we’ve delivered to our customers for decades,” says Michael Cohen, DBL Center president and CEO.
With 40+ years in the insurance industry, The DBL Center services 100,000 insured corporations through 4,000 brokers across 15 states as a wholesale insurance general agency. The DBL Center specializes in DBL, PFL, TDB, TDI, and PFML in Massachusetts and Connecticut. For more information, visit InsuranceWholesaler.net, call 800.325.2777 or connect with us on LinkedIn.
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Prior to the MA Paid Family Medical Leave Act, short-term disability benefits provided partial income replacement for non-work-related illnesses or injuries in Massachusetts.
With MA PFMLA benefits going into effect on January 1, 2021, (and additional benefits beginning July 1, 2021), Massachusetts business owners may wonder if they still need to offer group STD to employees.
The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, recently shared details on why Massachusetts business owners should supplement MA Paid Family Medical Leave Act benefits with Group STD.
Employers in Massachusetts must provide statutory PFML coverage. Businesses over 25 employees can write their benefits plan through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or choose a private plan that:
In 2021, the MA Paid Family Medical Leave Act will compensate workers for up to 20 weeks of personal medical leave. However, if the worker already filed a personal or family leave claim within the past calendar year, they may not be able to collect for the full 20 weeks.
On the other hand, employees can collect STD income replacement for up to 26 weeks, regardless of other claims.
Long-term disability insurance typically goes into effect 26 weeks after an employee becomes disabled. STD provides income replacement for those six weeks (or more) once PFML runs out, before LTD begins.
Better benefits help reduce employee stress and improve retention rates within a company. Combining PFML with Group STD and the best long-term disability insurance , plus ancillary benefits like dental, vision, and Group Life AD&D can set a Massachusetts business apart.
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The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, recently posted a summary of statutory disability and paid family and medical leave plans across the United States. Visit InsuranceWholesaler.net to find out what states are on the list.
“Most people don’t realize this, but 37 states threw their hats in the ring this past election to pass Paid Family Leave acts on a state level,” said The DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen. “This is a growing legislation that may ultimately become federal, like the Family Medical Leave Act, which offers unpaid job protection for those who are out of work due to illness or to care for family members.”
Moving into 2021, nine states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico offer statutory disability plans to employees. Of those states, only Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York provide options to privatize statutory disability through an independent insurance carrier.
California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island offer Paid Family Leave as subsets of statutory disability plans. For instance, PFL in New York is written as a rider to DBL coverage.
In New Jersey, Family Leave Insurance is included automatically with TDB premiums. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act covers both family leave and medical leave. It can be written through the state or through a private insurance carrier. Private plans typically offer faster, more flexible payout options and personalized service.
As more states add paid family and medical leave benefits to their statutory disability programs, business owners enter uncharted territory. Reputable insurance brokers can provide the education and guidance business owners need to select the right plans.
“It’s important for business owners to understand the tremendous advantages of writing their coverage with a top-rated carrier rather than going settling for what their state offers,” Cohen says. “Private plans can provide better service, faster claims, flexible payout options, and costs savings over state plans.”
Get a free demo of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker today
The DBL Center, a wholesale general agency, has been breaking new ground when it comes to providing superior customer service and a tech-forward approach to statutory disability sales for insurance brokers.
The Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker software-as-a-service enables brokers to:
The dashboard provides brokers with everything they need from an account management basis to compare premiums and bind policies easily from anywhere they happen to be.
Accessible from mobile phone, PC, or desktop computer, the Broker Dashboard was met with accolades from brokers as a great way to stay on top of renewals and cancellations and to manage their business from anywhere.
Broker Dashboard Increases Functionality and Adds New Features with iOS App
In September 2020, nearly 3 years from the date of its launch, the Broker Dashboard got its own app in the Apple App store. Available for iOS users (iPhone and iPad mobile devices) the app brings all the functionality of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker SaaS to any iOS mobile device.
User-friendly and intuitive, the app is the future of statutory disability insurance in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts – and beyond.
The DBL Center is offering brokers a free live demo of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker and its new features. Brokers who take advantage of the demo will receive free access to the Broker Dashboard for all their accounts.
The statutory insurance business is built on return customers and repetitive commissions. “As my father and DBL Center founder David Cohen used to say, ‘It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.’ In these challenging times, The DBL Center helps brokers retain more of their business for greater profitability,” says DBL Center CEO Michael Cohen.
Schedule a Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker live demo today.
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The DBL Center, a statutory insurance wholesaler with more than 40 years of experience, continues to lead the statutory insurance industry with cutting-edge technology. This week, The DBL Center launched the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app in the App Store for iPhone and iPad users. The launch of the app enables brokers to work from anywhere while providing superior levels of customer service to their clients.
Already garnering five-star ratings and close to 200 downloads, the app is patterned after The DBL Center’s proprietary Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker cloud-based software solution for statutory insurance brokers across the northeast and beyond.
Offering all the functionality of the Broker Dashboard desktop application, the Broker Dashboard app for iPhone and iPad puts the capability to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions at broker’s fingertips.
The DBL Center also recently released a video detailing the capabilities of the Broker Dashboard software.
DBL Center: Helping Brokers Embrace Change
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, studies show approximately 62 to 64% of U.S. employees shifted to remote work. Experts predict the trend to continue even after the pandemic ends. Through technology, resilience, and understanding, the statutory insurance industry can embrace this change and take the opportunity to be able to deliver even higher levels of service to business owners.
“If you run an insurance agency, it’s more important than ever to be able to manage a remote workforce and give your producers the tools they need to do their jobs – in their office or at home,” says DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen. “With the Broker Dashboard app for iPhone and iPad, the tools brokers need are just a touch away.”
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