On November 2, 2017, the Workflex in the 21st Century Act (the “Workflex Bill”) was introduced in an effort to promote workplace flexibility and work-life balance for employees. The new legislation, which was developed with the support of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members, would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to create a qualified flexible work arrangement plan.
In order to qualify as an “ERISA-covered plan”, employers must offer a minimum amount of paid leave (the amount would depend on an employee’s tenure and the employer’s size) and at least one of the following flexible work arrangements or “workflex” options, to each eligible employee:
- A compressed work schedule;
- Biweekly work program;
- Job sharing;
- Flexible scheduling;
- Predictable scheduling.
An employee's participation in any flexible work arrangement would be voluntary. In order to participate in the workflex option, an employee must have been employed for no less than 12 months for at least 1,000 hours with the employer during the previous 12-month period. Both full- and part-time employees would be eligible for paid leave, with workers accruing leave over the course of a plan year. Employers would pay the cost of paid leave provided for in the bill.
The ERISA-covered plan would pre-empt state and local paid leave and workflex laws. The legislation would not affect the coverage protections afforded under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), as the bill makes clear that the workflex paid leave can run concurrently with FMLA leave.
We will continue to keep you updated with any developments of this bill.