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Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act
On June 25, 2019, Connecticut became the seventh state in the United Nations to adopt a paid family leave program. The Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (CPFML) creates a new comprehensive paid leave benefit for the employees and also amends the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA) and broadens definitions of employers, eligible employees along with reasons and amount of leave available to employees.
CPFML premium withholdings shall begin on January 1, 2021, and covered employees can start receiving benefits from January 1, 2022. The amendments to the CFMLA shall also be effective from January 1, 2022.
Changes in important definitions via CPFML
- Employer – Employer means a person engaged in any activity, enterprise, or business who employs one or more employees and does not include the state, or a municipality, etc.
- Covered Employee – An employee must have earned at least $2,325 during the employee’s highest-earning quarter within the base period and meet any of the following conditions: (1) is presently employed; (2) was employed by the employer within the previous 12 weeks, or (3) is self-employed or a sole proprietor and Connecticut resident enrolled in CPFML for the purpose of receiving benefits.
- Eligible Employee – Eligible employee means an employee who has been employed three months immediately preceding his or her request for leave by the employer with respect to whom leave is requested.
- Family Member – Family member means a spouse, sibling, son or daughter, grandparent, grandchild or parent, or an individual related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of those family relationships.
Amount of Leave
Currently, an employee is entitled to 16 weeks of leave in a 24 month period. Beginning January 1, 2022, eligible employees shall be eligible for twelve weeks of benefits in a 12-month period, who are absent for reasons as provided under the Act. In case, an employee has a serious health condition resulting in incapacitation that occurs during pregnancy, she may be entitled to 2 additional weeks of benefits under the Act.
Reasons for Leave
Employees can receive benefits under the Act for the following reasons:
- To care for a family member of the employee with a serious health condition;
- For the employee’s own serious health condition;
- To bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child;
- To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor;
- In connection with a qualifying military exigency of the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee, in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”);
- Military caregiver leave;
- Certain absences related to the employee’s status as a victim of family violence.
Contribution to the Fund
The CPFML is an employee-funded insurance program. Employers have to deduct and withhold 0.5 percent of employee’s wages for each payroll period and contribute the funds quarterly to the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Trust Fund. Effective November 2020, covered employers are required to register with the Paid Leave Authority for the establishment of their accounts. The deductions from the employee’s payroll will be effective from January 1, 2021, and shall be done in each quarter. An employee shall receive benefits from January 1, 2022.
CPFML Benefits for Covered Employees
Covered employees shall receive benefits from the insurance program in the below manner:
- Employees whose base weekly earnings (BWE) is less than or equal to 40 times the minimum fair wage shall receive 95% of BWE, up to 60 times the minimum wage;
- Employees whose BWE is greater than 40 times the minimum fair wage, shall receive 60% of BWE, up to 60 times the minimum wage.
Where to Apply for Leave
Employees will need to apply to both their employers for time off from work and to the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority for paid leave benefits.
The Act provides an option for the employers to get an exemption from complying with the provisions as long as employers provide similar private plans which meets the following criteria:
- Confers all of the same rights, protections, and benefits provided by CPFML including at least the same number of weeks of benefits, at the same wage replacement, and coverage for the same reasons;
- Imposes no additional conditions or restrictions on the use of the leave beyond those explicitly authorized under the CPFML Act;
- Does not cost employees more than CPFML through the state;
- Provides coverage for all employees throughout employment;
- Provides for inclusion of future employees;
- Does not adversely select members and does not threaten the state fund or endanger the solvency of the fund;
- Was approved by a majority of employees (subject to other requirements of the bill); and
- Meets any additional requirements established by the Authority.
Please refer to the Blog Post on the proposed reform that was earlier published on August 2, 2019, on the Replicon website.