June 28, 2019
On June 25 Governor Lamont made Connecticut the 9th U.S. jurisdiction to adopt a paid family and/or medical leave program. As a reminder, here are the jurisdictions with paid leave programs and their status:
- California –in force
- Connecticut–JUST PASSED! Employee contributions start January 1, 2021;
leave and benefits start January 1, 2022
- District of Columbia – employer contributions start July 1, 2019; leave and benefits
start July 1, 2020
- Hawaii – disability benefits (medical leave) only; in force (and studying the addition of a
paid family leave component)
- Massachusetts – employer/employee contributions start October 1, 2019; leave and benefits
start January 1, 2021
- New Jersey – in force; substantially amended in February 2019 to enrich benefits and broaden
- New York – in force
- Rhode Island – in force
- Washington – employer/employee contributions started January 1, 2019; benefits start January 1, 2020
Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave – the Details
The following summary is based on our early review of the Connecticut PFML statute. There are many more details in the law; we will continue to analyze the nitty gritty and watch for developments in the program.
|ISSUE||PROVISION||CT S 1|
|Administration||The statue creates an “authority” comprised of 15
appointed board members to oversee creation of
the PFML program
|Covered Employee||Has earned $2325 during the employee’s highest
earning quarter within the base period (first 4 of 5
most recent quarters) AND:
|Covered Employers||All private employers, regardless of size
Does not cover:
|Total Leave Entitlement||
|Covered Family Relationships||
|§§17(6), (7), (8), (10), (14), (15), (16)|
|Leave YearCalculation Methods||
|Leave Increments||Continuous, reduced schedule, intermittent||§3(e)
|Employee Documentation||Certification from Health Care Provider for
employee’s or family member’s serious health
condition or for care of servicemember
|Employer Notice to Employees||General notice of employee’s CT PFML rights upon
hire, and then annually
|Employee Notice to Employer||30 days if need for leave is foreseeable
As soon as practicable if not foreseeable
|Employee contributions||Start 01-01-2021
Maximum ½ % of employee’s wages up to
No employer contribution
|Weekly Benefits||Start 01-01-2022
95% of employee’s base weekly earnings up to:
Subject to reduction if needed to ensure solvency
Predicted to be ~$840/week when benefits start;
Private Plan Option
Section 11 of the Connecticut PFML law allows employers to adopt an insured or self-funded private plan. The requirements are very similar to those in Massachusetts. To be approved, a private plan must:
(A) Confer all of the same rights, protections and benefits provided to employees under the PFML statute, including:
(i) At least the same number of weeks of benefits;
(ii) At least the same level of wage replacement for each of those weeks; and
(iii) Leave and benefits for the same reasons as specified in the statute;
(B) Impose no additional conditions or restriction on the use of family or medical leave beyond those explicitly authorized by the statute or by regulations to be issued
(C) Cost employees no more than the premium charged to employees under the state program;
(D) Provide coverage for all employees throughout their period of employment;
(E) Provide for the inclusion of future employees;
(F) Not result in a substantial selection of risks adverse to the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Trust or otherwise significantly endanger the solvency of the fund;
(G) Have been approved by a majority vote of the employer’s employees; and
(H) Meet any additional requirements established by the authority.
Health Care Provider Obligations.
In a new but welcome twist, the statute imposes some obligations on health care providers:
- The health care provider has a duty to provide a complete and timely medical certification
upon patient’s request
- The health care provider cannot charge a fee for completing the certification
- If CT PFML compensation is paid as a result of willful misrepresentation by a health care provider,
the provider may be liable for a penalty of 300% of the benefits paid as a result. Perhaps this will
deter providers who simply approve whatever leave frequency and duration the patient says is
needed without exercising medical judgment.
“Like a family member . . .”
You will have noted (with your hand to your forehead) that leave is available to care for “an individual related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of those family relationships.” The law tasks the Connecticut Labor Commissioner to adopt regulations that, among other things, provide guidelines regarding factors to be considered when determining whether an individual’s close association with an employee is the equivalent of a family member relationship otherwise covered by the statute.
Existing Connecticut family and medical leave law.
Current Connecticut law provides job-protected but unpaid leave of absence (up to 16 weeks in a 24-month period) for all of the reasons listed above, with leave as a victim of family violence carved out separately. The vast majority of the existing law is repealed and reenacted or amended by the new PFML law effective January 1, 2022 – the date the paid benefits will start. The expanded definitions of family members for whom an employee can take paid family leave will provide broader coverage for that leave reason. Existing law allows leave to care for a parent, child (under 18 or disabled), and spouse. As you can see above, several relationships have been added, including sibling, grandchild, grandparent, and “like a family member.”
The text of the final bill as passed can be found HERE.
MATRIX CAN HELP! It’s early days yet for Connecticut PFML. As usual, we will be watching for developments and reporting on this blog as new information is available. IN the meantime, you can find our prior blog posts about other state PFML laws by typing the state name in the search box – a wealth of articles about the pending Massachusetts and Washington laws and the 2019 New Jersey amendments.
AND . . . If your company is interested in the private plan option for Washington or Massachusetts PFML, contact your Matrix/Reliance Standard account manager or send us a message at email@example.com.