Connecticut Paid FMLA: What Employers Need to Know Now

Tasha PattersonLegislative Updates

Connecticut Paid FMLA: What Employers Need to Know Now

Sally Welch St. Onge

Jackson Lewis P.C.

With a difficult 2020 nearing its end, if Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (CT 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, Connecticut enacted two separate laws — one creating a paid leave benefit and the other amending, and expanding, the existing 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 Dec. 31, 2020: Register with the Paid Leave Authority.
  • Jan. 1, 2021: Employee payroll withholdings (0.5%) begin for the paid leave benefit.
  • Mar. 31, 2021: Deadline for employers to submit first quarterly payment of withholdings to the Paid Leave Trust.
  • Jan. 1, 2022 (or before): Connecticut Department of Labor will provide guidelines for the expanded CT FMLA.
  • Jan.1, 2022: Expansion of covered employers, employees, and reasons for CT FMLA leave is effective.
  • Jan. 1, 2022: Paid leave benefits available.

Paid Leave Benefit

  • Applicable to nearly all employers and employees in Connecticut. There is 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). There is no notice requirement regarding the withholding, but employers should consider communicating with employees to avoid a surprise in Jan. 2021.
  • Generally provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons covered by the amended CT FMLA as of Jan. 2022. An additional two weeks will be available for an incapacitating serious health condition related to pregnancy.
  • Paid leave benefit is 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

***This article originally appeared on the Jackson Lewis’ Disability, Leave & Health Management blog and was reposted on the DMEC website with their permission.***