THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

98

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

REQUESTING THE DIRECTOR OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE ON PAID FAMILY LEAVE.

 

 


WHEREAS, most workers, at some point in life, will need to take time off from work to care for an ill family member; and

 

WHEREAS, under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended (FMLA), certain employees who work for employers with fifty or more employees are eligible for up to twelve weeks of unpaid job-protected leave for qualifying reasons such as a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee's job; to care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition; qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty; the birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child; and placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to bond with the newly placed child; and

 

WHEREAS, under chapter 398, Hawaii Revised Statutes, aka the Hawaii Family Leave Law (HFLL), certain employees who work for employers with one hundred or more employees are eligible for up to four weeks of unpaid job-protected leave (family leave) for qualifying reasons such as the birth of a child of the employee or the adoption of a child; and to care for the employee's child, spouse, reciprocal beneficiary, sibling, grandchild, or parent with a serious health condition; and

 

WHEREAS, the family leave provided under the FMLA and HFLL is unpaid, and as of March 2018, only seventeen percent of workers in the United States had access to paid family leave through their employers; and

 

WHEREAS, ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Hawaii: A Financial Hardship Study, published by the Aloha United Way in 2020, reports that despite the steady economic improvements in Hawaii from 2010 to 2018, during which the gross domestic product grew, unemployment rate fell to historic lows, and wages rose, almost half of the families in Hawaii were struggling to make ends meet in 2018; and

 

WHEREAS, with such financial constraints, a majority of Hawaii's workforce cannot afford to take unpaid leave for family caregiving purposes, such as to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to bond with a new child; and

 

WHEREAS, the AARP Public Policy Institute reported in November 2019 that as of 2017, there were approximately 157,000 unpaid family caregivers in Hawaii, and while the majority of family caregivers are women, there is a growing trend for men, especially adult sons, to take on family caregiving tasks for the health and functional needs of their aging parents, other older relatives, or close friends, and forty-four percent of all male family caregivers report moderate to high financial strain as a result of caregiving; and

 

WHEREAS, the need for leave to care for elderly family members in Hawaii is expected to increase, as the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism projected in June 2018, that the percentage of residents aged sixty-five years and older, which constituted 14.5 percent of the State's population in 2010, is expected to rise to 19.1 percent in 2020, and to 22.6 percent in 2030; and

 

WHEREAS, as of January 2021, nine states California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington and the District of Columbia have enacted paid family and medical leave laws; and

 

WHEREAS, section 7602(c) of the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, as provided in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (P.L. 11692), amended portions of the FMLA to allow certain covered federal civilian employees up to twelve weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care occurring on or after October 1, 2020; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 109, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018, the Legislature, as groundwork to establish a paid family leave framework that will allow all employees in Hawaii access to leave benefits during times when leave is needed for family caregiving purposes, required the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) to analyze the impacts of establishing a paid family leave program on industry, consumers, employees, employers, and caregivers that would enable the Legislature to choose a model or framework that will work best for Hawaii's workforce; and

 

WHEREAS, in December 2019, the LRB issued its Paid Family Leave Program Impact Study (PFL Study), which projected the costs and staffing required to establish and maintain a paid family leave system in Hawaii under three social insurance models that differ in the role the State plays (1) a system funded exclusively by the State, such as a state-administered insurance fund; (2) a system that allows private plans to opt-out; and (3) a system in which the State's role is limited to governance of a system that is highly regulated and reliant on private markets or an insurance fund, or an employer mandate, such as the State's Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program as follows:

 

 

State System Funded Exclusively by State

State System with Opt-Out for Private Plans

Highly Regulated Private Market, Insurance Fund, or Employer Mandate

 

Start-up Cost

$1,100,000

$1,100,000

$660,000

 

On-Going Support Cost

$2,624,000

$2,618,000

$1,103,000

 

Support Staffing

22.5 people

22 people

7.5 people

; and

 

WHEREAS, the PFL Study further reported that regardless of which paid family leave model is adopted, there are pertinent policy aspects that will need to be determined, such as the benefit amount and wage replacement ratio; length of leave (including maximum weeks) for bonding and family caregiving; employer eligibility (e.g., public employers, employer size, self-employed); employee eligibility (e.g., minimum time worked or minimum earnings achieved); qualifying events; covered family relationships; whether to provide job protection; interaction with the State's TDI program; funding; administrative structure; and claims management; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations is requested to convene a task force to study, design, and develop a paid family leave pilot program (PFL Pilot Program) with coverage limited to certain employers and employees to be established and implemented by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations as a trial program that could eventually be expanded to cover all public and private sector workers in the State; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to include the following as members:

 

(1) The Director of Labor and Industrial Relations or the Director's designee, who is requested to serve as the chairperson of the task force;

 

(2) The Director of Human Resources Development or the Director's designee;

 

(3) The Director of Finance or the Director's designee;

 

(4) The Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee;

 

(5) The Mayor of the County of Hawaii or the Mayor's designee;

 

(6) The Mayor of the County of Maui or the Mayor's designee;

 

(7) The Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu or the Mayor's designee;

 

(8) The Mayor of the County of Kauai or the Mayor's designee;

 

(9) A representative of a children's advocacy organization in Hawaii to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

 

(10) A representative of a women's advocacy organization in Hawaii to be appointed by the Senate President;

 

(11) Two representatives from public sector labor organizations in Hawaii, one to be appointed by the Senate President and one to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

 

(12) A representative from private sector labor organizations in Hawaii to be appointed by the Governor;

 

(13) A representative of the Hawaii insurance industry to be appointed by the Governor;

 

(14) A representative of business organizations in Hawaii to be appointed by the Senate President; and

 

(15) A representative of small business organizations in Hawaii to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force may invite additional organizations or agencies to participate in the task force; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to submit a report describing the progress made by the task force, its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the report submitted by the task force to the Legislature is requested to include:

 

(1) Data on the amount of leave generally taken or if there is no such data, the amount of leave deemed generally necessary by health care providers for qualifying reasons that are not based on the serious health condition of the employee or the employee's family members, such as the amount of leave taken for the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care under the FMLA and HFLL and leave taken to bond with a newly born or newly placed child under the FMLA;

 

(2) Identification of issues related to the establishment and implementation of the PFL Pilot Program;

 

(3) Recommendations for the basic structure of the PFL Pilot Program, including but not limited to its coverage of employers such as industry sectors and geographic regions (counties), eligibility criteria for employees(e.g., minimum time worked or earnings achieved); benefit amount and wage replacement ratio; length of leave (including maximum weeks) for bonding and family caregiving; qualifying events; covered family relationships; whether to provide job protection; interaction with the State's TDI program; administrative structure; and claims management;

 

(4) Impacts and estimated costs of establishing and implementing the PFL Pilot Program, including but not limited to the fiscal and administrative impacts on the State and the impacts on public sector collective bargaining and civil service law;

 

(5) Description of the opportunities and challenges of expanding the PFL Pilot Program to Hawaii's entire workforce (Hawaii PFL Program); and

 

(6) Proposed legislation for the PFL Pilot Program and Hawaii PFL Program; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Director of Labor and Industrial Relations, Director of Human Resources Development, Director of Finance, Attorney General, Mayor of the County of Hawaii, Mayor of the County of Maui, Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, and Mayor of the County of Kauai.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Paid Family Leave Pilot Program; Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Task Force; Family and Medical Leave Act; Hawaii Family Leave Law; Temporary Disability Law