December 4, 2020

Volume X, Number 339

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Connecticut Paid FMLA: What Employers Need to Know Now

With a difficult 2020 nearing its end, if Connecticut Paid FMLA has recently reappeared on your radar, don’t fret!  Simply review the below basics to prepare for this upcoming change.

As a reminder, last summer (i.e., an eternity ago), Connecticut enacted two separate laws—one creating a paid leave benefit and the other amending, and expanding, the existing Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA). Employers must keep this statutory setup in mind, as certain provisions are unique to each of the two laws. For example, applying for and receiving the paid leave benefit, by itself, does not entitle the employee to job protection. Job protection will continue to be governed by the provisions of the CT FMLA, as amended, and other applicable laws.

Key Dates:

  • November 2020: employers may begin registration process for online accounts with the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority

  • By December 31, 2020: register with the Paid Leave Authority

  • January 1, 2021: employee payroll withholdings (0.5%) begin for the paid leave benefit

  • March 31, 2021: deadline for employers to submit first quarterly payment of withholdings to the Paid Leave Trust

  • January 1, 2022 (or before): Connecticut Department of Labor will provide guidelines for the expanded CT FMLA

  • January 1, 2022: expansion of covered employers, employees, and reasons for CT FMLA leave is effective

  • January 1, 2022: paid leave benefits available

 Paid Leave Benefit:

  • Applicable to nearly all employers and employees in Connecticut. No minimum tenure requirement, but employees generally must meet minimal earnings threshold for eligibility.

  • Funded by a 0.5% employee payroll tax (up to the Social Security contribution limit of $142,800 for 2021). No notice requirement regarding the withholding, but employers should consider communicating with employees to avoid a surprise in January 2021.

  • Generally provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons covered by the amended CT FMLA as of January 2022. An additional 2 weeks will be available for an incapacitating serious health condition related to pregnancy.

  • Paid leave benefit available January 2022, with maximum weekly paid leave compensation at $780 (60 times the minimum wage as of that date).

  • Employees may receive the paid leave benefit concurrent with “employer-provided employment benefits,” if the total does not exceed the employee’s regular pay. It is unclear at this time how the paid leave benefit will interweave with employer benefits.

  • Creates a paid intermittent leave entitlement.

  • Employers may apply for an exemption by offering a private plan, which must meet various criteria. Importantly, prior to application to the state, the plan must be approved by a majority of all the employer’s employees in Connecticut.

Expansion of CT FMLA Coverage:

 

Current law

Law as of 1/1/22

Employer coverage

75+ employees

1 employee

Covered family members for “care” leave

Spouse, child, or parent

Spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, and any other “individual related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of those family relationships”

Tenure requirement for job protection under CT FMLA

12 months and 1,000 hours

Three months (this tenure minimum does not apply to paid benefits, which are generally available upon employment)

Total leave entitlement

16 weeks in a 24-month period

12 (or 14) weeks in a 12-month period

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 323
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About this Author

Sally Welch St. Onge, Jackson Lewis, preventive counseling attorney, EEOC law, employment litigation lawyer, performance management legal counsel
Associate

Sally Welch St. Onge is an Associate in the Hartford, Connecticut, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice is focused on employment litigation and preventive counseling.

Ms. St. Onge defends employers in state and federal court and before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In addition, Ms. St. Onge also advises management on various topics, including performance...

860-522-0404
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