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South Carolina House Endorses Paid Family Leave Insurance Bill *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 14, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , , ,

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The South Carolina House of Representatives has approved a framework for paid family leave insurance in the state, sending House Bill 4832 to the Senate.

By a vote of 110-0, the House last week passed the bill that would allow but not require paid leave insurance products to cover at least two weeks of paid time off for workers who need to care for family members, including newborn children. The measure authorizes life and disability insurers to create the policies, and the insurers would be subject to a 1.25% tax on total premiums written.

The bill comes two years after South Carolina lawmakers approved six weeks of paid family leave for state employees, and a year after similar paid leave was provided to teachers and school employees. At least four Southern states have expanded paid family leave for educators and public workers in the last four years, the advocacy group A Better Balance has reported.

Kentucky was the most recent, when lawmakers voted in January voted 92-1 to allow the insurance plan. Supporters said the measure would help make Kentucky more competitive with other states that offer

Employers nationwide must comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave. At least 13 states have added their own leave laws that require paid time off for family and medical reasons for private employers. Nationwide, eight states have adopted voluntary paid leave insurance provisions, the Bipartisan Policy Center reported.

South Carolina’s HB 4832 was sponsored in part by Rep. Kevin Hardee, R-Loris. If it passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, it will take effect July 1, 2025.

“The policy of insurance shall set forth: the amount of benefits that will be paid for covered family leave reasons; the definition of the wages or other income upon which the amount of family leave benefits will be based; and how wages or other income will be calculated,” reads the bill.

By next year, the state Department of Insurance must provide annual reports on the utilization of the insurance, including the number of insurers offering it and the number of employers that have purchased it, broken down by industry and company size.

The South Carolina-based Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, which has advocated for more paid leave time for state workers, did not take a position on HB 4832.

A similar bill has been approved by a Senate committee and appears on its way to passage by the full Senate.

Related: The Hartford to Offer Vermont’s Family Leave Insurance for Employers

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South Carolina

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