What We Do

We are a private, employee-owned company that specializes in administering employee leaves of absence as well as designing, implementing, and administering self-insured short-term disability plans, including voluntary plans that replace California State Disability Insurance (SDI).

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photo_disability_large If you are interested in exploring self insuring your short term disability plan, contact The Larkin Company today

Disability Plans

What We Do

The Larkin Company helps employers explore the advantages and savings that result from self-insuring short-term income replacement programs. By self-insuring, the employer takes complete control over the benefit and funding design as well as the processes. From initial concept through implementation and claims administration, we’re experts.

Why Self Insure Your Short Term Disability Plan?

Self-insurance is a very popular funding tool used by many companies to control the cost of employee benefits. It is particularly attractive because, in most circumstances, the losses are easily forecast and paid out over time.

In some instances, employers are already self-insured in that they continue to pay a portion of the employee’s salary through payroll while the employee is disabled. This may be in accordance with a formal company policy, e.g., “salary continuation,” or an informal payroll practice. In either case, companies are often interested in obtaining professional medical management for the disability. The Larkin Company provides medical management and adjudication of such disabilities and can either issue benefit payments directly or provide the employer with advice-to-pay.

With The Larkin Company, plans are designed and administered to meet individual client needs. We provide interested companies with a comprehensive Feasibility Study to determine if self-insurance is a good alternative.

The Larkin Company has expertise in:

  • Designing and administering self-insured short-term disability plans
  • Self-Insured State Disability Plans, also called voluntary plans
  • Advice-to-Pay
  • Paid Family Leave as a part of the administration of self-insured voluntary plans
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photo_sdi_large If you are interested in self insuring your state disability insurance or voluntary plan, contact The Larkin Company today

California SDI

What We Do

The Larkin Company has been designing and administering self-insured State Disability Insurance Plans (known as “voluntary plans”) for more than 25 years. The principals of The Larkin Company are recognized as experts in this field.

Why Self-Insure California State Disability Insurance?

Self-insurance is a very popular funding tool used by many companies to control the cost of employee benefits. It is particularly attractive because, in most circumstances, the losses are easily forecast and paid out over time.

SDI is funded entirely through a payroll tax on individual employee earnings. In recent years, the SDI contribution rate has been as high as 1.2%. As a result, many employers are able to offer benefits greater than or similar to SDI at the same or lower cost to the employee. There is no cost to the employer to implement and administer a self-insured plan.

With The Larkin Company, plans are designed and administered to meet individual client needs. We provide interested companies with a comprehensive Feasibility Study to determine if self-insurance is financially viable and a good alternative.

The Larkin Company assists with:

  • Plan Design
  • Employee Communication and Enrollment
  • Plan Documentation
  • Legal Compliance
  • Ongoing Claims Administration, Consulting and Support
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photo_leave_large If you are interested in outsourcing your leave administration, contact The Larkin Company today

Leave Administration

Managing Employee Leaves

When the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) passed into law on February 5, 1993, employee leaves of absence changed dramatically. The FMLA requires employers to grant leaves to employees for up to 12 weeks and to protect the employee’s job during the leave.

Managing employee leaves of absence and complying with federal and state laws governing such leaves has become confusing for employers and employees alike. When do the various laws run concurrently? When are they exclusive? Which law provides the greater protection or benefit? To what lengths should employers go to merely comply with the various laws? What problems are created by being more generous than the law requires?

With The Larkin Company, employers gain consistent application of company policy and the law, expert help for employees during a complicated time and customized processes meeting the individual client’s needs.

Why outsource Leave Administration?

The Larkin Company’s services include:

  • Guidance in writing or updating leave policies to comply with federal and state law
  • Consistent application of company policy and the law
  • Customized processes that meet the individual client needs
  • Personalized employee communication
  • Periodic alerts to management and human resources regarding leave status
  • Certification and tracking of both protected and unprotected (e.g., personal) leaves
  • Sensitive help for employees during a complicated time
  • Integration with disability plans

Our clients include companies of all sizes with employees in multiple states that are interested in complying with federal and state laws governing employee leaves of absence.

Our Market

Our clients include companies of all sizes with employees in multiple states that are interested in complying with federal and state laws governing employee leaves of absence.

Because we customize our processes to fit individual client needs, we provide solutions for the employer that has limited or no resources as well as the employer that is interested in reallocating resources.

WE HAVE CLIENTS IN ALL INDUSTRIES

High Technology

High Technology

High Technology

Construction

High Technology

Service

High Technology

Retail

High Technology

Agriculture

High Technology

Manufacturing

OUR SOLUTIONS ARE CUSTOM

Solutions are designed to meet the individual expectations of our client.

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photo_market_large Our solutions are designed to meet the individual expectations of our client

Our Market

Our clients include companies of all sizes with employees in multiple states that are interested in complying with federal and state laws governing employee leaves of absence. Because we customize our processes to fit individual client needs, we provide solutions for the smaller employer that has limited or no resources as well as the larger employer that is interested in reallocating resources.

Our clients include high technology companies with highly technical and well-educated employees as well as companies in service industries with minimum wage workers and high employee turnover. Our solutions are designed to meet the individual expectations of our client. Consider that our goal is 100% client retention.

Self-insured disability plans are usually a solution for companies with at least 500 employees. This threshold will vary depending on factors such as employee demographics, the client’s objectives, the client’s risk tolerance and other variables. The Larkin Company offers a variety of approaches depending on the individual client’s needs.

We design highly customized and personalized processes based on each client’s situation. As a result, we appeal to companies who seek a unique approach to the administration of its programs and the highest level of service.

How We Integrate

While we offer our services on an a la carte basis, we fully integrate the leave and disability management process for many of our clients. To us, "integration" means a single point of contact from intake until the employee returns to work. It means the client's support team works on a single, integrated system. It means fully integrated process flows that we design with the client to meet its expectations. Talk with us about the efficiencies and service enhancements that result from integrating employee leaves with disability management.

Who We Are

We believe that our level of service and support separates us from our competition, and we invite anyone to ask our clients if this is not the case.

Founded in January 2001 with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA.

The Larkin Company is a private, employee-owned company. We are a young, profitable company with many years experience in the administration of employee benefit programs. We are passionate about providing outstanding service and strive for 100% client retention.

Tom Larkin, Founder

News & Updates

We keep up to date on the latest policy changes.

  • The Larkin Company Newsletter

    Updates to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

    Updates to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) On March 4, 2015, The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) filed updated regulations for the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to be effective July 1, 2015.  CFRA has not been revised in twenty years and there are three general areas of change.  These updates will […]

  • California EDD Updates 2016 DI Fund Forecast

  • California EDD Updates for 2015 DI Fund and Equitable Parental Leave

  • California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2015

  • Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance

  • California EDD Announces 2014 Changes to SDI

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  • Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance

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  • California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2014

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The Larkin Company Newsletter

Updates to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Updates to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

On March 4, 2015, The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) filed updated regulations for the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to be effective July 1, 2015.  CFRA has not been revised in twenty years and there are three general areas of change.  These updates will better align CFRA with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), clarify the differences between FMLA and CFRA, and clarify confusing areas.

Changes to Better Align CFRA and FMLA. 

  • Employers will be required to respond to CFRA requests within five days instead of ten days.
  • The updated regulations will change how leave entitlement is calculated in order to accommodate variable schedules.
  • The new CFRA regulations will allow employers to retroactively designate leave as CFRA as long as the employee is given notice and it does not do any harm to the employee.
  • The location to which a remote employee is assigned or reports will be considered the employee’s “worksite.”  This update is significant because some employers may see an increase in CFRA eligible employees.
  • A “joint employer” will be defined under CFRA instead of just referencing the definition under FMLA.
  • A “serious health condition” under CFRA is expanded to cover treatment for substance abuse.

Changes to Clarify Differences Between FMLA and CFRA

  • CFRA will continue to provide greater privacy protection for employees.  Under CFRA, employers still cannot ask for a diagnosis or contact the health care provider to clarify information on the medical certification.  Employers can only authenticate information.
  • Second opinions will only be permitted for the employee’s own serious health condition, not for a family member’s serious health condition.
  • The definition of “inpatient care” is being expanded to include the expectation of staying overnight in a facility, even if the patient is released.

Changes to Clarify Confusing Areas of CFRA

  • The definition of “spouse” will include married same-sex partners and registered domestic partners.
  • If an employee is receiving partial wage replacement (disability or paid family leave benefits) during the CFRA leave, employers will be prohibited from requiring California employees to use their accrued vacation or PTO while out on leave.
  • The new regulations will clearly state that fraudulent use of CFRA leave will nullify an employee’s protected job restoration or maintenance of health benefits rights.  (Employers bear the burden of proof).

Since these updated CFRA regulations go into effect on July 1, 2015, employers in California should take a look at current policies to ensure consistency and compliance and have them reviewed by legal counsel.  Please note that the changes listed above are not inclusive of all the changes, but cover many of the key points.  For more information, please see http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/res/docs/FEHC/Final%20Text%20(1).pdf.  Otherwise, please contact the Larkin Company for further information or questions.

California EDD Updates 2016 DI Fund Forecast

California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2016

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced its May forecast for the 2016 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund.  The DI fund provides State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits for California employees.   The 2016 employee contribution rate is expected to increase from 0.9% to 1.0%; the maximum weekly benefit is expected to increase from $1,104 to $1,144; and the taxable wage base from which DI contributions can be made is expected to increase from $104,378 to $108,160.

California employers may opt out of the state DI if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established and certain requirements are met.  Two of these requirements are that the employee cost of VDI cannot be more than what the employee pays for DI and the benefits paid by VDI must be at least equal to what DI would pay.  For more information about VDI, please contact The Larkin Company.

Once the DI changes for 2016 have been finalized, The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2016.

California EDD Updates for 2015 DI Fund and Equitable Parental Leave

California State Disability Insurance Fund Changes for 2015

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced the changes for the 2015 Disability Insurance (DI) fund, which provides State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits for California employees.  Effective January 1, 2015, the employee contribution rate will decrease from 1.0% to 0.9%; the maximum weekly benefit amount will increase from $1,075 to $1,104; and the taxable wage limit from which DI contributions can be made will increase from $101,636 to $104,378.

Equitable Parental Leave for Bonding

On July 14, 2014, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated guidance on parental leave for bonding, both paid and unpaid.  The EEOC specified the requirement for equitable parental leave in order to comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination from disparate treatment between new mothers and new fathers.  To avoid violation of Title VII, employers must differentiate between leave to recover from a disability from leave to bond with a new child.  While employers can offer leave or pay to employees who give birth to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, new mothers and new fathers must be eligible to receive the same amount of parental leave or pay to bond with a new child.

To explain this further with an example, if an employer offers a pregnant employee 12 weeks of “maternity pay,” then 8 weeks is income replacement to recover from pregnancy and childbirth and the remaining 4 weeks is to bond with her new child.  Therefore, a new father or non-biological mother should also be eligible for 4 weeks of parental pay to bond with his or her new child.  This ensures the employer is offering equitable parental leave and not violating Title VII.

The Larkin Company will reach out to our clients for whom we administer Leave of Absence or Voluntary Disability Insurance plans to assist them in planning for 2015.

California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2015

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced its May forecast for the 2015 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund, the fund from which both State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave benefits are paid.  The 2015 employee contribution rate is expected to decrease to 0.9% from its current 1.0%; the maximum weekly benefit amount is expected to rise to $1,111 from its current $1,075; and the taxable wage base from which DI contributions can be made is expected to rise to $105,040 from its current $101,636.

California employers may opt out of DI if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established, provided certain requirements are met.  Two of the primary requirements are that the employee cost of VDI be no more than the employee cost of DI and that benefits paid by VDI be at least equal to what DI would pay.

Once the DI changes for 2015 have been finalized, The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2015.

Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance

As of January 5, 2014, Rhode Island began accepting Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) claims after the program was established last July by House Bill 5889. TCI provides up to four weeks of benefits and pays up to $752 per week to claimants who require time off for at least seven continuous days to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill parent, child, domestic partner, spouse, grandparent or parent-in-law. Though Rhode Island has just implemented its paid family leave program, California and New Jersey both have such programs in place.

California became the first state to implement a paid family leave program, and it provides up to six weeks of benefits to employees who require time off work to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill spouse, child, parent or registered domestic partner. Beginning July 1, 2014, the newly expanded definition of family member will become effective to include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law.

New Jersey was the second state to begin operating its paid family leave program, called Family Leave Insurance (FLI), which was integrated with New Jersey’s existing Temporary Disability Insurance program. FLI provides up to six weeks of benefits to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner or parent.

Though Washington has passed legislation that establishes its paid family leave program, the program’s implementation has been delayed until 2015. Unlike California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, Washington has no statutory disability program and thus no existing vehicle through which to fund its paid family leave benefit.

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California EDD Updates 2016 DI Fund Forecast

California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2016

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced its May forecast for the 2016 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund.  The DI fund provides State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits for California employees.   The 2016 employee contribution rate is expected to increase from 0.9% to 1.0%; the maximum weekly benefit is expected to increase from $1,104 to $1,144; and the taxable wage base from which DI contributions can be made is expected to increase from $104,378 to $108,160.

California employers may opt out of the state DI if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established and certain requirements are met.  Two of these requirements are that the employee cost of VDI cannot be more than what the employee pays for DI and the benefits paid by VDI must be at least equal to what DI would pay.  For more information about VDI, please contact The Larkin Company.

Once the DI changes for 2016 have been finalized, The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2016.

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California EDD Updates for 2015 DI Fund and Equitable Parental Leave

California State Disability Insurance Fund Changes for 2015

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced the changes for the 2015 Disability Insurance (DI) fund, which provides State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits for California employees.  Effective January 1, 2015, the employee contribution rate will decrease from 1.0% to 0.9%; the maximum weekly benefit amount will increase from $1,075 to $1,104; and the taxable wage limit from which DI contributions can be made will increase from $101,636 to $104,378.

Equitable Parental Leave for Bonding

On July 14, 2014, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated guidance on parental leave for bonding, both paid and unpaid.  The EEOC specified the requirement for equitable parental leave in order to comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination from disparate treatment between new mothers and new fathers.  To avoid violation of Title VII, employers must differentiate between leave to recover from a disability from leave to bond with a new child.  While employers can offer leave or pay to employees who give birth to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, new mothers and new fathers must be eligible to receive the same amount of parental leave or pay to bond with a new child.

To explain this further with an example, if an employer offers a pregnant employee 12 weeks of “maternity pay,” then 8 weeks is income replacement to recover from pregnancy and childbirth and the remaining 4 weeks is to bond with her new child.  Therefore, a new father or non-biological mother should also be eligible for 4 weeks of parental pay to bond with his or her new child.  This ensures the employer is offering equitable parental leave and not violating Title VII.

The Larkin Company will reach out to our clients for whom we administer Leave of Absence or Voluntary Disability Insurance plans to assist them in planning for 2015.

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California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2015

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced its May forecast for the 2015 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund, the fund from which both State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave benefits are paid.  The 2015 employee contribution rate is expected to decrease to 0.9% from its current 1.0%; the maximum weekly benefit amount is expected to rise to $1,111 from its current $1,075; and the taxable wage base from which DI contributions can be made is expected to rise to $105,040 from its current $101,636.

California employers may opt out of DI if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established, provided certain requirements are met.  Two of the primary requirements are that the employee cost of VDI be no more than the employee cost of DI and that benefits paid by VDI be at least equal to what DI would pay.

Once the DI changes for 2015 have been finalized, The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2015.

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Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance

As of January 5, 2014, Rhode Island began accepting Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) claims after the program was established last July by House Bill 5889. TCI provides up to four weeks of benefits and pays up to $752 per week to claimants who require time off for at least seven continuous days to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill parent, child, domestic partner, spouse, grandparent or parent-in-law. Though Rhode Island has just implemented its paid family leave program, California and New Jersey both have such programs in place.

California became the first state to implement a paid family leave program, and it provides up to six weeks of benefits to employees who require time off work to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill spouse, child, parent or registered domestic partner. Beginning July 1, 2014, the newly expanded definition of family member will become effective to include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law.

New Jersey was the second state to begin operating its paid family leave program, called Family Leave Insurance (FLI), which was integrated with New Jersey’s existing Temporary Disability Insurance program. FLI provides up to six weeks of benefits to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner or parent.

Though Washington has passed legislation that establishes its paid family leave program, the program’s implementation has been delayed until 2015. Unlike California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, Washington has no statutory disability program and thus no existing vehicle through which to fund its paid family leave benefit.

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California EDD Announces 2014 Changes to SDI

California EDD Announces Changes to State Disability Insurance

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced that the 2014 employee contribution rate for State Disability Insurance (SDI) will remain at 1.0%, lower than the 1.2% shown in the EDD’s May forecast. The lower rate is a function of a higher SDI Fund balance. The taxable wage base from which the contributions will be taken will increase to $101,636, and the maximum annual cost to an employee will be $1,016.36.

SDI provides disability and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits equal to 55% of the employee’s base period earnings. For 2014, the maximum weekly benefit will increase from $1,067 to $1,075.

California permits employers to opt out of SDI and establish a private plan for Voluntary Disability Insurance (known as a “voluntary plan”), provided certain requirements are met. Among these requirements are that the voluntary plan’s employee cost be no more than the cost for SDI and that benefits paid by the plan be at least equal to what SDI would pay.

The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer a voluntary plan to assist them in planning for 2014.

Prior Year Announcements

The Larkin Company is an administrator of self-insured disability plans (including self- insured California SDI) and leave of absence programs for employers. Please contact us for information about our services.

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Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance

Rhode Island will join California and New Jersey in providing income replacement for employees who must leave work to care for certain family members or bond with a new baby. Effective January 1, 2014,Temporary Caregiver Insurance will be integrated with Rhode Island’s existing Temporary Disability Insurance program. Eligible employees would be able to claim up to four weeks of benefits and would be guaranteed job reinstatement and maintenance of health benefits.

Private sector employees currently contribute 1.2 percent of their annual earnings up to $61,400 to the Temporary Disability Insurance program. Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor and Training, has said that the rate would remain at 1.2 percent for 2014, but that the rate is estimated to increase to 1.4 percent for 2015.

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California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2014

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced its May forecast for the 2014 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund, the fund from which both State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits are paid. The 2014 employee contribution rate is expected to rise to 1.2% from its current 1.0%, the maximum weekly benefit amount is expected to rise to $1,095 from its current $1,067, and the taxable wage base from which DI contributions can be made is expected to rise to $103,527 from its current $100,880.

California employers may opt out of DI if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established, provided certain requirements are met. Two of the primary requirements are that the employee cost of VDI be no more than the employee cost of DI and that benefits paid by VDI be at least equal to what DI would pay.

Once the DI changes for 2014 have been finalized, The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2014.

Prior Year Announcements

The Larkin Company is an administrator of self-insured disability plans (including self- insured California SDI) and leave of absence programs for employers. Please contact us for information about our services.