A Leave Manager’s Guide to Vermont Voluntary Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (VT FAMLI)

April 5, 2024

In late 2022, Vermont announced the launch of a voluntary paid family and medical leave program that will provide employees residing in the state with leave insurance by 2025. The Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan (VT-FMLI) started being offered to state employees in July 2023. Now VT-FMLI is in the process of being rolled out to other private employers and employees. 

Who is eligible for VT FAMLI? 

For private sector employers, VT-FMLI is optional. Private sector employers with two or more employees that wish to offer a VT-FMLI benefit can purchase a policy (as of July 1, 2024).  

Employees whose employers choose not to offer VT-FMLI coverage will still have the opportunity (as of July 1, 2025) to purchase coverage through the individual purchasing pool insured by The Hartford. 

The law applies to all state employees (as of July 1, 2023) of the state of Vermont.

What new protections does VT FAMLI grant employees?

VT-FAMLI offers participating employees the following: 

  • At least six weeks paid leave plus a seven-day unpaid elimination period per benefit year. 
  • 60% wage replacement up to the applicable Social Security taxable wage maximum. 
  • Flexibility within parameters set by the Vermont Insurance Department. 

What wage replacement does VT FAMLI offer? 

Under VT-FMLI, the new insurance coverage will provide enrolled Vermont State employees 60% wage replacement.  

Do employers have to pay for VT FAMLI, and if so, how does that work?

The VT-FMLI program is being established to offer voluntary family and medical leave benefit coverage to Vermont employers and eligible employees. Private employers and other non-state public employers may voluntarily choose to offer these benefits to their employees. Employees can also choose to purchase benefits either from their employer, if available, or from the VT FMLI individual purchasing pool if coverage is not available through their employer. Employers with one employee can also choose to sponsor coverage for their employee through the VT FMLI individual purchasing pool effective July 1, 2025. The individual purchasing pool is insured by The Hartford.

Does VT FAMLI interact with other types of leave?

Where an employee qualifies for FMLA or other similar types of leave, both benefits will run concurrently. Employees may also work with their employer to understand how this interacts with any company paid time off available.

Does VT FAMLI offer job protection?

The VT-FMLI program does not include job protection. Under federal and state family and medical leave laws, an eligible employee has a right to job-protected leave and the employer can decide by policy whether to pay the employee during that leave. When applicable, a worker should request leave under Vermont’s unpaid Parental and Family Leave and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

What leave options does VT-FAMLI provide employees?

Life events that qualify for the use of VT-FAMLI leave are: 

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth 
  • An employee’s adoption of a child or foster care placement, and to care for the newly placed child within one year of 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 who has a serious health condition 
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job 
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, 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 (i.e. “military caregiver leave”) 

What documents can employers ask employees to provide?

The Hartford is the current administrator of these benefits and will work with employers on appropriate certification and notice requirements.

When does an employee need to give notice of their VT-FAMLI?

For short-term family leave, a worker must give notice as early as possible. At least seven days before the leave is to be taken should be provided unless waiting seven days could have a significant adverse impact on the employee’s family member.

How can your HR team ensure they are compliant with VT-FAMLI?

Employers in Vermont looking to purchase voluntary VT-FAMLI should work with their internal counsel, a broker, or The Hartford directly to implement these benefits. To help track and calculate eligibility for VT-FAMLI, AbsenceSoft can help. Schedule a demo today to learn more.