After much deliberation, Governor Lamont has officially signed the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) into law, following in Massachusetts’ footsteps.
Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave has been signed into law, allowing employers to provide employees with paid, job-protected leave for health-related reasons. CT PFML is now 12 paid weeks and will be solely funded by employee contributions, at 0.5%, which will come as a payroll tax imposed on all employees.
Changes from Current Legislation
- Reducing leave from 16 unpaid weeks in a 24-month period to 12 paid weeks in a 12-month period
- Adding a potential two additional weeks for an incapacitating pregnancy-related condition
- Covering employers with one or more employees
- Reduces the number of months they must have worked for their employer (immediately preceding their request) from 12 months to 3 months with no minimum requirement for hours worked
- Applicable affinity definition has been expanded to include the need to care for themselves, family members-including spouse, parents, in-laws, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren or "anyone else whose close association, whether by blood or affinity, is the equivalent of a family member
Starting January 1, 2022, the Connecticut PFML will provide Connecticut employees with job-protected, paid leave to care for a newborn or adopted/foster child, care for themselves or a loved one (either by blood, marriage or close affinity) with a serious health condition. The program allows for up to 12 weeks of paid time off during a 12-month period, which can be taken consecutively or on an intermittent basis. There is a 14-week exception for those dealing with an incapacitating pregnancy-related condition.
Eligible employees must have been employed for at least three months immediately preceding his or her request for leave by the employer. Employees are not eligible for a wage replacement if they are already collecting unemployment or workers compensation. They would be eligible, however, if the employee is receiving compensation from employer-provided benefits or paid time off provided that the combined amount of benefits received from those sources does not exceed their regular rate of compensation. Unionized public employees are exempt while self-employed employees and sole proprietors can opt-in.
- January 1, 2021: Employee Payroll Contributions Begin
- January 1, 2022: Covered employees shall receive compensation for up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period
- July 1, 2022: Employers must provide notice at time of hire & annually of CT PFML entitlement.
The CT PMFL will be paid for by a payroll tax deduction of 0.5% by employee, with the minimum amount at $156 and maximum deduction for high earners at $664.50. The new tax will be limited to the same annual earnings as the social security cap at $132,900. To ensure that the program remains capable of paying out the benefits, the contribution rate will be reviewed and updated starting November 1, 2022, and every November 1st thereafter.
Starting January 1st, 2022, employees can begin filing for benefits. The Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority (the “Authority”) is working on putting a process in place that would allow employers to opt out of the public plan option, if, they have a private plan that meets the requirements under the Connecticut law. The wage replacement comes at a two-tiered approach with 95% of an employee's average weekly wage being replaced up to a maximum of 40 times the state minimum wage with wages above that threshold being replaced at 60% of the employee's average weekly wage up to an overall cap of 60 times the state minimum wage.
• Employers must notify their employees (and new hires) about their rights under this new program. More details to come on how this notice can be delivered.
• Employers should review and update employee handbooks and written leave policies.
• Employers should prepare their payroll function to add another deduction for family leave benefits.
Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/act/pa/pdf/2019PA-00025-R00SB-00001-PA.pdf
“It’s about time...this means you can now take the time you need to care for a sick child, to care for a new child and do what you’ve got to do and you don’t need to choose between a job and someone you love.”
We will keep you up-to-date as further information is provided. If you have any questions, please contact your local OneDigital representative.