Friday, April 8, 2022
Landmark Laws Expand Paid Family Leave Solutions For Virginians
WASHINGTON – Groundbreaking legislation signed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin paves the way for employers in the Commonwealth to expand access to paid family leave benefits. Virginia is the first state to make family leave plans a type of insurance that employers can voluntarily purchase for their employees.
Two bills signed by Governor Youngkin, SB 15 and HB 1156, give the Virginia Bureau of Insurance authority to regulate and approve family leave plans offered by life insurance companies. The plans would pay benefits:
- After the birth of a child or adoption of a child by the employee;
- For placement of a child with the employee for foster care;
- To care for a family member of the employee who has a serious health condition; or
- When the employee's family member who is a military member is on active duty or has been called to active duty status.
“Enactment of these laws is a major milestone for advancing paid family leave for workers nationwide. Virginia has built a model for other states to also help employers meet the needs of the modern workforce,” said American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely. “All Americans should be protected from economic loss when taking time off from work to provide essential care for themselves or a loved one. Thanks to these initiatives signed into law, more employers will be able to offer these benefits to workers across the Commonwealth.”
Life insurance companies already provide paid medical leave benefits through short-term disability policies to more than 47% of full-time U.S. workers. Until now, no state laws permitted companies to offer insurance plans that cover family leave. Virginia changes this by amending the insurance code to allow insurers to submit family leave insurance plans for approval to the Bureau of Insurance.
In addition to ACLI, the new laws have strong support from the National Federation of Independent Business, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and other groups representing employers.
“The law is a win for employers who want to offer this important benefit to retain and attract employees,” Neely said. “It’s also a win for workers who will have peace of mind from knowing they can take time off from work for caregiving without sacrificing their financial security. We hope that other states follow the lead of Virginia and adopt similar proposals to help families across the nation.”
The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) is the leading trade association driving public policy and advocacy on behalf of the life insurance industry. 90 million American families rely on the life insurance industry for financial protection and retirement security. ACLI’s member companies are dedicated to protecting consumers’ financial wellbeing through life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, reinsurance, and dental, vision and other supplemental benefits. ACLI’s 280 member companies represent 94 percent of industry assets in the United States.
Date Posted: April 8, 2022
Document ID: NR22-007