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Connecticut Expands Family Leave

March 23, 2022

As of January 1, 2022, family leave in Connecticut experienced major changes, including expansion of the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA) and the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) went into effect. This article will discuss the changes to the CT FMLA and the major provisions of the PFMLA.

CT FMLA

The following changes have been made to CT FMLA:

  • Any employer with at least one employee working in the state must provide unpaid leave. This threshold was previously set at a minimum of 75 employees.
  • To be eligible for leave, employees only need to have worked for their employer for three months to qualify and there is no minimum number of hours required. These thresholds were previously set at 12 months and 1,000 hours.
  • The distribution of leave time has been modified from 16 weeks over a 2-year period to 12 weeks over a one year period.
  • Employees that suffer from a serious health condition that results in incapacitation during pregnancy may be eligible to receive an additional two weeks of leave.
  • Employers that require their employees to use employer provided paid leave while out on CT FMLA are required to only allow their employees to use such paid leave until they have two weeks remaining. Previously, employers were allowed to require their employees to use all employer provided leave.

PFMLA

Connecticut PFMLA was enacted in June of 2019 and employers began taking deductions from their employees pay on January 1, 2021. As of January 1, 2022, eligible employees were able to begin taking paid leave under the statute. To qualify for PFMLA an employee must have:

  • Earned $2,325 in their highest earning quarter in the past four quarters;
  • Been employed within the last 12 weeks and be currently employed; and
  • A PFMLA compliant reason for taking leave.

Under PFMLA, the reasons for taking leave are the same as under the CT FMLA. However, the definition of “family member” under the PFMLA has been significantly expanded to include siblings, parents-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren, 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.”

Eligible employees are able to receive the same 12 weeks of leave over a one year period and may also be eligible for the additional two weeks if they suffer from a serious health condition that results in incapacitation during pregnancy. The main difference between the two policies, under PFMLA, employees can receive pay of up to 95% of their regular wages, but it will be capped at 60 times the state minimum wage. The employee threshold is the same as CT FMLA, at a minimum of one employee.

Conclusion

Smaller employers that were not previously covered by CT FMLA may want to familiarize themselves with the law, as well as the new state PFMLA, in order to be prepared when an eligible employee needs to take such leave.

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