Paid Family & Medical Leave Coming to Connecticut

At the close of the legislative session on June 5, 2019 the Connecticut General Assembly passed P.A. 19-25, An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leavesigned into law by Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday, June 25. While Connecticut joins six other states and Washington, D.C. in providing paid family leave as an insured benefit, the Connecticut paid family leave bill also includes provisions for paid time off for an employee’s own illness/injury, as well as illness of a family member, and for purposes of bonding with a newborn.

The new law is in its infancy, but will ultimately provide private-sector Connecticut workers a state-mandated, employee-funded disability insurance policy beginning January 1, 2022. Employees will contribute 0.5 percent of their income via a mandatory payroll tax, with the first deductions beginning in January 2021.  Wages to be considered in the tax will be annual earnings subject to Social Security taxes.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Twelve weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period to care for oneself or a family member; defined as spouse, parents, in-laws, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren, and also anyone else whose “close association, whether by blood or affinity, is the equivalent of a family member.”
  • Approved leaves will be payable based upon a sliding scale, where low-income earners can receive up to 95 percent of their regular weekly pay, not to exceed 60 times the minimum wage.  Employees earning more than minimum wage will receive an additional 60 percent of their weekly pay above minimum wage, subject to the same cap.
  • The law will apply to all private-sector employees with as few as one employee.  State employees belonging to a union are exempt, and sole-proprietors have the option to enroll.
  • Employees will be eligible to utilize the benefit after working at least three months with the same employer – no minimum hours required.

The new legislation calls for a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority to be formed this summer, to serve as a quasi-public entity administering the new program.  The Authority will further be tasked with evaluating and regulating the structure and sustainability of the program and setting the employee contribution rate.  The bill allows the state labor commissioner until January 1, 2020 to adopt final regulations, which should shed light on functionality of the program.  For now, employers should stay-tuned until further guidance is issued. Rose & Kiernan, Inc. will continue to monitor the progress of this bill and the growing trend of state-mandated leave benefits.

This Summary is provided to you for general informational purposes only, does not include references to other legal resources (e.g., supporting regulations, formal or informal opinions) unless specifically noted and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Please seek qualified and appropriate counsel for further information and/or advice regarding the application of the topics discussed herein to your employee benefit plans.

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