On Sept. 14, Mercer submitted written comments to the US Department of Labor (DOL) to express support for a nationally uniform, voluntary compliance standard for employer-paid leave programs and to offer Mercer data and insight into their design, administration and cost, with a view to encouraging broader adoption.
Mercer’s comments respond to the Request for Information (“paid leave RFI”) published by DOL’s Women’s Bureau in the July 16 Federal Register. The paid leave RFI solicited feedback on a number of issues, including but not limited to:
Mercer’s comments note that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a uniform, nationwide approach to paid leave and put a spotlight on the patchwork of state and local requirements that arise in the absence of a federal solution. The comment letter explains that employers, particularly multijurisdiction employers, are struggling in a time of crisis to understand the compliance requirements of numerous different laws, while trying to support their workforce in a consistent and meaningful way.
The comments emphasize that a nationwide paid family and medical leave compliance standard would improve the current patchwork landscape and lead to a more consistent approach. Such a compliance option could increase the prevalence and value of paid leave benefits, reduce costs and enhance employees’ experience.
Drawing on Mercer’s work with thousands of US employers and data from extensive surveys — including its Absence and Disability Management Survey — Mercer’s comments also respond to the paid leave RFI with information and observations on the following issues related to paid leave:
While related near-term regulatory changes are not expected, the DOL ultimately wants to gain a better understanding paid leave policies in general and to learn what employers and employees would like to see changed in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations. Responses to the paid leave RFI will help build an important public record to foster policies that support employers and employees and help large, multistate employers offer consistent programs.