Midterms’ impact on benefits: Dems controlling more state legislatures and the House could mean new paid family and medical leave laws, according to Sun Life experts
SLPC 29347 11/2018 (exp 11/2020)
WELLESLEY, Mass. – (November 8, 2018) – In a legislative webinar post-election yesterday, Sun Life Financial U.S. experts discussed how the midterm elections could affect employee benefits, and explored the growth of new paid leave laws at the federal, state and local levels.
Sun Life’s Marjory Robertson, senior counsel and a leave compliance expert, and James Slotnick, head of government relations, gave insight into the legislative landscape, particularly in regard to paid leave.
“Paid leave is definitely on the rise,” said Robertson. “The 2016 election brought it to the national stage. Washington State, Massachusetts and D.C. have passed mandatory paid leave laws, and we expect to see more and more states passing their own leave laws, and are closely watching Connecticut, Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont. We may even see the Democrat-controlled House pass federal paid leave legislation. Employers need to stay updated because these laws increase compliance challenges and will impact the structure of employee benefits, paid time off policies, and short- and long-term disability.”
Slotnick and Robertson also discussed how opposing majorities in the House and Senate will potentially slow the pace of legislation, and what is next for the Affordable Care Act.
“With no support in the House, ACA repeal and replace has no viable path forward for at least the next two years,” said Slotnick. “I am watching for the outcome of the state of Texas’ ACA lawsuit and whether it makes its way to the Supreme Court. With tax reform reducing the individual mandate penalty to $0, it opened the door to argue that the ACA is no longer constitutional. Currently, there are 37 states involved in this lawsuit, and it has the potential to end the law.”
Other key takeaways from the webinar, according to Slotnick and Robertson:
- “Medicare For All”: With 15 Democratic senators co-sponsoring, Senator Bernie Sanders’ proposed legislation could become part of the 2020 Democratic platform;
- Balance billing: A group of bipartisan senators have discussed a bill that would limit patient exposure and put more liability on health-plan sponsors;
- Evolution of paid family and medical leave laws: Original laws focused on wage replacement rather than job protection, and this is changing to include protections for both wages and jobs; and
- Employer paid leave programs: More employers are adopting their own voluntary paid leave plans, finding them to be a powerful recruitment and retention tool with millennials.
For the full recording of the legislative update webinar, please contact Devon.Portney.Fernald@sunlife.com.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2018, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of C$984 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.
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In the United States, Sun Life Financial is one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 60,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life’s broad portfolio of insurance products and services in the U.S. includes disability, absence management, life, dental, vision, voluntary and stop-loss. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
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