Could Paid Parental Leave be on the Horizon in Florida?

Come July, many Floridians could become eligible for paid parental leave from their employers thanks to pending legislation.

In December, the Florida Family Leave Act was introduced to the state legislature via HB 889 and SB 1194. It would require Florida employers to provide three months of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a minor child.  Among the specifics and restrictions:

  • The employee must work for the employer for at least 18 months and at an average of 20 or more hours per week.
  • Employers with fewer than 15 employees would not be subject to this requirement.
  • Independent contractors are not covered.
  • The employee must be able to return to his or her job after family leave.
  • The employee cannot experience a loss of pay or benefits or demotion of position as a result of taking leave.

The United States has traditionally shied away from government-funded paid family leave. It’s one of two United Nations members (along with Papua New Guinea) that doesn’t offer such a program.  However, national support is gaining momentum.

In a 2018 survey by the National Partnership for Women and Families, 84% of voters supported a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave policy. Additionally, a provision in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act provided paid parental leave for all Title 5 federal employees. And some of the country’s most notable employers already offer paid leave lasting several weeks or even several months.

If the Florida Family Leave Act passes, Governor Ron DeSantis could sign it by July. That said, some Florida companies are already voluntarily offering paid leave policies. Doing so positions these companies to attract better job candidates and prepares them should the act become law.

With the 2020 legislative session already underway, we’re watching this issue closely and will keep you posted on developments. Until then, consult your HR professional if you have questions or are considering offering your own paid parental leave plan.

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