Connecticut is the most recent state to join the paid family leave states. Starting January 1, 2021, employers whose employees work in the state must begin handling Connecticut paid family leave contributions.
Read on to learn about the new Connecticut paid family leave program so you can be prepared.
Paid family leave recap
Paid family leave is a state-mandated regulation that requires employers to let employees take paid time off for qualifying events.
Under federal law, employers with 50 or more employees must provide unpaid time off for family and medical leave. This federal law is known as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). However, FMLA does not require employers to give paid family and medical leave.
State-mandated paid family leave is increasing in popularity. A number of states have adopted their own law, including:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Don’t confuse paid sick leave with paid family and medical leave. Some states have state-mandated sick time, which lets employees take time away from work to deal with shorter-term illnesses or injuries.
Connecticut paid family leave
Currently, Connecticut has a family leave program called the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA). However, this program requires employers to provide unpaid leave to employees.
Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (CPFML) requires that employers provide their employees with paid leave. Here are some important dates to know about the Connecticut paid family leave program:
- June 25, 2019: Connecticut’s governor signed legislation establishing the program
- January 1, 2021: Employers must begin withholding and remitting program contributions
- January 1, 2022: Covered employees can start taking paid family and medical leave
Read on for the information you need to know about the new law.
Do all businesses have to participate?
Yes, all businesses employing at least one employee who works in Connecticut must participate in the state’s paid family leave program.
Although all businesses must participate, there is an alternative. Employers who want to provide benefits through a private plan can apply for an exemption. However, employees must receive at least the same level of benefits through the private plan as the state-mandated program.
What is the contribution rate?
The new paid leave program is funded through employee contributions. Employers do not contribute to the program. But, employers are responsible for withholding contributions from employee wages and remitting them to the state.
Connecticut’s paid family leave program is currently set for one-half of one percent (0.5%) of an employee’s wages. Withhold 0.5% of each employee’s gross wages until the employee earns above the Social Security wage base.
For 2020, the Social Security wage base is $137,700. However, this will likely change by 2021. Stay updated on the wage base, and stop withholding 0.5% when the employee earns above the wage base.
Let’s say an employee earns $2,000 biweekly. You would withhold $10 ($2,000 X 0.005) from their wages for CPFML and contribute it to the state.
What can employees use paid family and medical leave for?
Connecticut employees can take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave if they have a qualifying reason. Employees who need to take leave for a serious health condition during pregnancy may be able to take up to 14 weeks of paid leave.
Employees can use paid family and medical leave to:
- Deal with a serious health condition
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child
- Donate an organ or bone marrow
- Deal with a situation related to the military deployment of a family member
- Handle situations related to family violence
So, who is considered a family member? Connecticut defines the following as family members:
- Any individual related to the employee by blood
- Any individual who’s the equivalent of a family member
More information to come
Because the program won’t take effect until 2021, there is plenty of time for the state to add to the law and update details.
Be on the lookout for updates on the new Connecticut paid family leave program. And, contact the state for more information on CPFML.
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This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.