On June 25, 2019, Connecticut joined seven other states — California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and Oregon — and the District of Columbia by passing legislation to create a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program through the signing of Connecticut Public Act 19-25, as amended by Public Act 19-117.
Following is an overview of the Connecticut Paid Leave (CTPL) program.
Employers who have one or more employees must participate.
Opt-out provision — private plan
- If employers offer a private Paid Family and Medical plan, they may apply to the CTPL program for an exemption from the program, if the private program:
- Is found to be comparable to Connecticut’s; and
- A majority of the employer’s employees have agreed to the plan.
Is paid leave considered job protected leave?
- The CTPL program only offers payment for qualifying events.
- Employees may be eligible for job protection under federal and state leave laws that run concurrently with the CTPL program.
- At this point, CT FMLA will continue to provide job protection for qualifying events.
What are qualifying events?
- Upon the birth of a child of the employee.
- Upon the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
- To care for a family member of the employee with a serious health condition.
- 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.
- Because of a serious health condition of the employee.
- To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor.
- If an employee is experiencing family violence, they can apply to take up to 12 days of leave.
- For any qualifying exigency, arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty, in the armed forces.
- To care for a military family member who is injured during active duty.
Requirements to be a “covered” employee
- Earning $2,325 in the first four of the past five quarters, and one of the following categories:
- Currently employed and working in Connecticut.
- Currently unemployed but had been employed and working in Connecticut in the past 12 weeks.
- Employees do not need to be a resident of Connecticut.
- Employees for whom an employer is paying Connecticut unemployment insurance and Connecticut payroll taxes are considered to be working in Connecticut.
Employee contribution amounts
- Employees will have contributions of 1/2 of 1% deducted from their total wages up to the defined social security wage base (using the same calculations for determining total wages as are used to calculate FICA) and done so through payroll deduction to coincide with each pay cycle.
- Total wages for an employee includes: the gross earnings from their employer(s): salary or hourly wages, vacation pay, holiday pay, tips, commissions, severance pay, etc.
- Employers will be responsible for withholding and submitting payroll deductions for each employee.
- These deductions must be submitted to the CT Paid Leave Authority quarterly.
- Failure to make appropriate contributions may result in penalties in addition to the required withholdings.
- Funds are held in the CT Family and Medical Leave Insurance Trust Fund.
Employee benefit calculation
The benefit amount is calculated by:
- Take the two quarters in the first four of the past five quarters with the highest total wages.
- Divide the total wages in those two quarters by 26 (rounded to the next lower dollar).
Employee paid leave benefits
- The CT Paid Leave Authority can pay up to 12 weeks of benefits in connection with the approved reasons for leave.
- Or, if pregnant or have given birth, and the health care provider determines your employee needs more time for recovery; the employee can apply for an extra two weeks of leave.
- Weekly compensation shall be equal to 95% of the covered employee’s base weekly earnings up to an amount equal to 40x the minimum wage, 60% of that covered employee’s base weekly earnings above an amount equal to 40x the minimum wage.
- Amount will adjust as the minimum wage adjusts.
- The total weekly compensation will not exceed an amount equal to 60X the minimum wage.
Example: A full-time worker earning $20/hr. and working 40 hrs./wk. would have base weekly earnings of $800.00. In June of 2023, once the minimum wage is fully phased in, they would be eligible to receive 95% of their first $600.00 in earnings ($570.00), plus 60% of their next $200 in earnings ($120.00), for a total of $690.00 in weekly compensation. (For purposes of illustration, this example does not consider the impact of payroll deductions on the wages.)
- Compensation shall be available on a prorated basis for workers taking leave in increments of less than one full week.
- Individuals may receive compensation for non-consecutive hours of leave.
- Leave can be taken in the following formats:
- Block leave: several days in a row for the same qualifying reason.
- Reduced schedule: adjustment of working hours less than the routine schedule.
- Intermittent leave: may use time in at least 15-minute increments. For example: doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, chronic migraines, etc.
Wage replacement conditions
- Covered employees may receive compensation from the CT paid leave program at the same time as receiving benefits from their employer, although the total amount of the combined compensation cannot exceed 100% of their regular rate of compensation.
- Covered employees may not receive PFML compensation at the same time they are receiving unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation or any of other state or federal benefit that provides wage replacement.
- Employees will apply to their employers for time away from work.
- Employees will apply to the CT Paid Leave Authority for paid leave benefits to receive income replacement while they are on leave.
- In some situations, it will be necessary for the employee, the employer and the Paid Leave Authority to communicate in order to establish the reason for the leave or to verify the duration and frequency of the leave.
Key dates for employers
Partnering with Sedgwick
Sedgwick intends to be fully prepared to support customers for whom we administer disability and absence management programs. When the time is right, we strongly encourage customers to work directly with their client services representative to establish if Sedgwick is:
- Managing other paid benefits in our claims system.
- Receiving a human resources (HR) file with the required CT PFML information to determine eligibility.
- Providing ATP or check-cutting services.
- Able to identify who is a Connecticut-based employee in the HR file we receive.
Considerations for employers
We will provide another update when the proposed regulations are published and outline the steps Sedgwick is taking to provide administrative services for CT PFML. In the meantime, we recommend that employers:
- Evaluate their employee demographics to determine whether any employees meet the eligibility criteria.
- Engage with a benefits consultant and/or legal counsel for guidance on policy/plan development, including updating employee handbooks or leave material to include CT PFML.
- Explore if a private plan is feasible for your company; generally, a benefits consultant can assist with a feasibility analysis.
- Prepare their payroll functions to add another deduction for CT PFML.
- Prepare to maintain the employees’ existing health coverage for the duration of the CT PFML.
State contact information
- Visit ctpaidleave.org.
- Click on the “Contact Us” link.
- Complete the form and submit.
- You will receive an email confirmation that your submission was received and then receive a response within two business days.
If you have any questions about the CT PFML law, please contact your Sedgwick client services representative.