CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA)

What is it?
The CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) allows employees access to paid leave for life events covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA) and the Connecticut Family Violence Leave Act, and provides employers with the tools and resources to comply with these laws and promote happy, healthy, vibrant, and inclusive workplaces.

Who is eligible?
The Connecticut Paid Leave (CTPL) program covers all employers with one or more employees and is accessible to all employees who have met certain earned-wage thresholds. Those who are self-employed or are sole proprietors are also eligible to opt-in to the program.

Unionized employees of the State of Connecticut and employees of the federal government, a municipality, a local or regional board of education, or a non-public elementary or secondary school, generally are not covered under the PFMLA, with some exceptions.

Timeline:

Nov 1, 2020Employer Registration begins. SE individuals and Sole Proprietors may register. They must remain in the program for 3 years
Jan 1, 2021Employers to being withholding employee contributions (1/2 of 1% of gross paycheck) to the CT Paid Leave Authority trust fund. SE Individuals and Sole Prop can begin making contributions
Mar 31, 20211st Quarter Payment Due
Jun 30, 20212nd Quarter Payment Due
Sep 30, 20213rd Quarter Payment Due
Dec 31, 20214th Quarter Payment Due
Fall/Win 2021Employees can begin to submit applications for paid leave benefits
Jan 1, 2022Benefit payments begin for approved paid leave benefit applications

 

Employer Responsibilities:
Administer the Payroll Deduction – Beginning January 1, 2021 the employer will need to start withholding the payroll deduction for the PFMLA. Deductions are capped at 0.5% of total wages, up to the Social Security Wage Contribution rate. There is no employer match.

Submit Employee Contributions – Employers are responsible for withholding and submitting the payroll deductions for each employee. Deduction 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.

Employers can opt out of the paid Family and Medical plan. They can apply for exemption with the Paid Leave Authority. Their private program will qualify if it’s found comparable to the PFMLA and the majority of the employees have agreed to the plan.

Is this Protected Leave?
The Paid Leave program offers payments for qualifying events but in applying for the payments does not automatically offer job protection for receiving them. Employers should work with employees to determine if its protected leave (if necessary). The Federal and State Family & medical Leave acts describe the rules for the job-protected leave, not the PFMLA.

Qualifying Events under the CT PFMLA and Leave Requests
There are a number of events that qualify under the Paid Leave program. They are:

  1. Birth of a child to the employee
  2. A child is placed into the employee care for adoption or foster care
  3. Care for a family member of the employee if the family member has a serious health condition.
  4. Employee has a serious health condition
  5. Employee serving as an organ or bone marrow donor
  6. Employee is experiencing family violence; they can apply to take up to 12 days of leave
  7. To care for a family member who is injured during Active Duty
  8. Qualifying exigency for an Active duty family member or an impending call/order to active duty to the armed forces

Individuals may receive compensation for non-consecutive hours of leave. The leave itself can be taken in a few different ways:

  1. Block leave – several days in a row for the same qualifying reason
  2. Reduced schedule – adjustment of working hours less than the routine schedule
  3. Intermittent leave – may use time in at least 15-minute increments for example: doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, chronic migraines, etc.

For Employees
Covered employees may receive compensation from the CT Paid Leave Authority 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, Worker’s Compensation, or any of other state or federal benefit that provides wage replacement.

The 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. The amount will adjust as the minimum wage adjusts. The total weekly compensation will not exceed an amount equal to 60x the minimum wage.

Employees may receive compensation for non-consecutive hours of leave and will receive amounts prorated if leave increments are less than 1 week.  Benefits will be available beginning January 1, 2022 and can be paid up to 12 weeks.

Communicate with the Paid Leave Authority – Employees are responsible with coordinating with their employers for the time off and applying with the CT Paid Leave authority for the benefits while they are on leave.  The leave authority may communicate with the employer for various reasons including to verify duration or frequency of the leave.

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