Missourians may have an additional payroll tax starting January 1st if SB 729 passes in the general elections.

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Democrat Senator Schupp is sponsoring a bill called the Missouri Earned Family and Medical Leave Act. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will administer the program.

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Payroll taxes may go up in Missouri in 2023Jon Tyson/Unsplash

The bill states, "Leave taken under this act must be taken concurrently with leave taken under the federal Family Medical Leave Act." Taxpayers are only eligible for the federal program if there are 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the business.

The money will begin to be deducted from your paycheck in January 2023 at a rate of .025% of your gross pay and will be an untaxed deduction. You will not be immediately eligible; Taxpayers will not be eligible for the benefit until January 2025. It is ultimately up to the Missouri Department of Labor to decide if there are sufficient resources in the fund. The department, at its discretion, can reduce the benefit amount each employee is eligible to receive.

The bill covers employees who want to:

  • To bond with a minor child within the first year of birth or placement in connection with foster care or adoption;
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • To tend to one's serious health condition.
  • To assume any familial responsibility because a spouse, child, or parent of an employee is on, or has been notified of an impending call to, active duty in the armed forces.

You will not qualify unless you have not worked 52 weeks of the year, and there is a computation they will use to decide your benefits. While the bill states you will be eligible to receive 100% of your wages, it also says:

An employee is eligible for benefits equal to 100% of their average weekly pay for each full week taken for family or medical leave. However, an employee's average weekly wage may not be higher than the average state weekly wage.

It appears it will be similar to Missouri unemployment for high earners, which tops out at $320.00 a week, and is not even a quarter of their wages for many taxpayers.

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Getting approved seems complicated, and it also seems you must be willing to sacrifice your HIPPA rights and your loved ones' HIPPA rights. You will be required to provide extensive medical reports to qualify. It is your responsibility to foot the bill for the exhaustive list of proof you will need to provide to get this benefit from:

  • (a) A health care provider;
  • (b) A court which has jurisdiction over a judicial proceeding relating to the serious health condition of the employee or the serious health condition of the family member of the employee;
  • (c) A law enforcement officer with knowledge of the serious health condition of the employee or the serious health condition of the family member of the employee.

To establish medical eligibility of the "serious health condition" means that the information on the certificate shall be within the physician's or health care provider's knowledge and shall be based on a physical examination and documented medical history of the family member or employee. The certificate shall contain all of the following:

  • A diagnosis and diagnostic code prescribed in the International Classification of Diseases
  • If no diagnosis has yet been obtained, a detailed statement of symptoms;
  • The date, if known, on which the condition commenced;
  • The probable duration of the condition;
  • An estimate of the amount of time that the physician or health care provider believes the employee needs to care for the family member or himself or herself;
  • If applicable, a statement that the serious health condition warrants the participation of the employee to provide care for his or her family member.

After all that, they still may require you to go back to the Dr. and get more private information;

Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the department from requesting additional medical evidence to supplement any claim. Any cost incurred for procuring further medical evidence shall be paid by the employee. The department may require that the additional evidence include any or all of the following:
  • (1) Identification of diagnoses;
  • (2) Identification of symptoms;
  • (3) A statement setting forth the facts of the serious health condition of the employee or such employee's family member.

Of course, this is at your expense as well. Then after it is all said and done, the bill states the benefits can be redetermined, and you may have to pay them back in full should they determine you were overpaid.

Missouri Unemployment also requires people to pay back benefits that they claimed through the Covid 19 situation. Even though they qualified, some taxpayers owe over $15,000 to the state due to clerical errors on their part.

Missouri has one of the lowest payouts for Unemployment benefits in the country. SB665 will reduce unemployment from 20 weeks to 10 weeks, depending on unemployment statistics.

Missourians must know the happenings in the Missouri General Assembly. Your officials can’t speak on your behalf if they are unaware of your opinion.

Change comes from involvement, and involvement is easier than you think.

Click this link to email your senator your thoughts on Missouri Earned Family and Medical Leave Act.

What are your thoughts on the Missouri Earned Family and Medical Leave Act?

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