Since 2014, Rhode Island’s temporary caregiver insurance program has provided employees with partial pay while they take time off to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Paid caregiver leave is funded through deductions from employee paychecks, not through employer contributions.
To be eligible for benefits, Rhode Island employees must be out of work for at least seven days and have paid into the state’s temporary disability insurance and temporary caregiver insurance programs (through payroll deductions).
Employees who have earned at least $11,520 during a 12-month base period preceding the claim will be eligible to receive benefits. Employees who do not meet this requirement will still be eligible if they meet all of the following requirements:
Employees must also take leave for one of the following covered reasons:
Caregiver insurance is not available when an employee takes leave for his or her own illness. However, for short-term disabilities—including pregnancy and other medical conditions—the employee may be able to collect temporary disability benefits. For more information, see the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s temporary disability page.
The Rhode Island caregiver insurance program provides partial wage replacements to employees for a limited amount of time. Employees will receive 4.62 percent of their wages in the highest-paid quarter of their base period, up to a maximum set by state law. As of July 3, 2016, the maximum weekly benefit is $817. Workers with dependent children can receive an additional $10 or 7% of their weekly benefit rate, whichever is greater (up to a maximum of five children).
Benefits are paid for a maximum of four weeks. Unlike in other states, there is no waiting period before workers can receive benefits.
You can apply for caregiver leave by completing a claim form provided by your employer or through the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s online filing system. Filing online is usually the fastest and most convenient method. .
You must provide supporting documentation with your claim. If you are taking leave to bond with a new child, you must submit a birth certificate or proof of adoption or foster care placement. If you are taking leave to care for a sick family member, your family member’s doctor will need to verify the need for care.
You must file your application within 30 days after you begin your leave. Otherwise, you may lose your right to collect benefits. To avoid this, it’s best to file your claim on the day you start your leave.
You must also give your employer written notice of your leave at least 30 days before the start of your leave, unless the need for leave is unforeseeable (as may be the case for a family member who suddenly takes ill).
The Rhode Island caregiver insurance law protects an employee’s right to take up to four weeks of caregiver leave and guarantees reinstatement at the end of the leave. Other state and federal leave laws may provide the right to additional job-protected time off. For example, employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave to employees under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and up to 13 weeks of unpaid family leave under Rhode Island’s family and medical leave law (these leaves run concurrently). To learn more about these laws, see Rhode Island Family and Medical Leave.