Monumental changes to Connecticut employment law are on the horizon.
Late last week, the House approved a bill creating a paid family and medical leave program in Connecticut. Senate Bill 0001, “An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave,” creates a Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) program to provide wage replacement benefits to certain employees taking leave for reasons allowed under Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA).The bill contains a number of changes impacting CFMLA, beginning as soon as January 2021. Here are the most noteworthy:
- Paid Leave: Current law does not require an employee’s CFMLA leave to be paid. The bill proposes paid leave for employees funded by a payroll tax on workers of 0.5%, which will be administered by an FMLI trust fund. The trust fund will provide benefits to covered employees, up to a maximum of $900 a week, which is significantly more than paid leave programs in other states.
- Covered Employers: Current law mandates that all employers with 75 or more employees are covered by CFMLA. The bill reduces this employee threshold from 75 to one, covering almost all private sector employers in the state.
- Employee Eligibility: Under current law, in order to be eligible for CFMLA leave an employee must, at the time the leave begins, have: (1) worked for the employer for a total of twelve or more months; and (2) worked for at least 1,000 hours during the twelve months preceding the leave. The bill makes employees eligible if they have worked for their employer for at least three months immediately preceding their request for leave with no minimum requirement for hours worked.
Other proposed changes concern the maximum amount of leave available, the expansion of family members for whom an employee can take leave for, and record keeping requirements for employers. Connecticut will be joining its neighbors New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey in offering paid family leave benefits.
Employers operating in Connecticut should consider the effect paid leave will have on its policies and payroll practices, and provide additional training for human resources personnel and supervisors accordingly. As always, Murtha lawyers are available to help employers with any and all aspects of compliance with the CFMLA and FMLI program.