Paid Family Leave: Connecticut Becomes the 7th State to Pass Legislation

Jul 08, 2019
| David Pearson
Connecticut Paid Family Leave

Paid family leave has been at the forefront of employment law in recent years. Six states (including New Jersey and New York) and the District of Columbia have legislation that mandates paid family leave.

While there is talk that a federal law could come in the future, other states continue to address this growing worker concern.

In early June, Connecticut lawmakers passed a bill that would make the state the seventh to enact paid leave legislation which Governor Ned Lamont has recently signed.

But what does this new law mean for employers and employees?

Connecticut Becomes the 7th State to Enact a Paid Leave Law

It’s been a busy Spring and Summer for Connecticut lawmakers. In May, the state Legislature passed a bill that would gradually increase minimum wage to $15 by 2023.

Now the state has added paid family leave legislation that is considered to be the most generous in the United States.

Eligible employees in Connecticut would receive 12 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period. They could use it to care for themselves, family members (such as a spouse, children, parents, in-laws, siblings, and grandparents) as well as “anyone else whose close association, whether by blood or affinity, is the equivalent of a family member.”

This is considered to be one of the broadest definitions of loved ones under paid leave legislation.

Employees who are taking leave due to pregnancy-related complications or health issues are eligible for two additional weeks of paid leave in addition to the 12 weeks already given.

What Should Employers and Employees Know About the Law?

The new law will make changes to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA), including expanding coverage to private employers with one or more employees.

Employees will fund the program through a payroll tax of 0.5% with contributions beginning in January 2021. Employers are not required to contribute to the program but will be responsible for withholding the employee payroll tax and remitting funds to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Insurance Trust Fund.

Compensation benefits received by employees will be determined on a sliding scale where lower-paid workers would receive the maximum benefits – up to 95% of regular weekly pay.

According to the law, paid leave benefits would begin “on January 1, 2022, but not later than February 1, 2022.”

Employees who want to request paid leave benefits will need to provide notice to the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority as well as certification as to why the paid leave is needed.

Employers can also apply to the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority for permission to provide leave benefits through a private plan. In order to do so, the employer’s plan must provide employees at least the same level of benefits as the state’s program under the same costs and conditions.

Employees who receive paid family leave benefits through a qualified private employer plan are exempt from contributing to the Connecticut Program.

Paid Family Leave is Coming to Connecticut

Employers will have some time to prepare for the new law before contributions begin and employees begin using paid leave benefits.

This means that business owners and leaders need to fully understand the law and what is required of them. Failing to do so could result in fines, penalties, or lawsuits.

Small employers in Connecticut who need assistance with the paid leave law should reach out to HR compliance experts who can help the business be prepared for this new legislation.

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