Reminder: CT Paid Leave will begin accepting applications for benefits on December 1, 2021
CT Paid Leave will begin accepting applications for benefits on December 1, 2021. Benefits will be payable for approved claims commencing on January 1, 2022.
Additionally, there are a number of significant changes to the CT FMLA effective January 1, 2022, which will serve to bring greater consistency between the CT FMLA and CT Paid Leave Act, and increase ease of administration for employers, where leave under both laws may apply simultaneously. These are summarized below:
Currently, CT FMLA applies to employers with 75 or more employees.
As of January 1, 2022, CT FMLA will apply to all employers with one or more employee in Connecticut.
Employees are eligible to take CT FMLA leave if they work in Connecticut and have been with the employer for at least three months.
Currently, employees must also have worked a minimum number of hours to be eligible for leave.
As of January 1, 2022, there is no minimum hours-worked requirement.
CT FMLA may be taken for the following reasons:
- To bond with the employee’s newborn baby
- To bond with a child who has been placed with the employee for adoption or foster care
- To care for the employee’s family member who has a serious health condition
- For the employee’s own serious health condition
- To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor
- Because of any qualifying exigency when the spouse, child, or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty
Employees may take leave intermittently when medically necessary or for bonding when the employer agrees.
Currently, eligible employees can take up to 16 weeks of CT FMLA in a 24-month period. Employees are also entitled to take up to 26 weeks to care for certain family members when they are injured during military service.
As of January 1, 2022, that changes to 12 weeks in a 12-month period, plus two additional weeks if they need leave because of a serious health condition during pregnancy. Leave duration for military family members stays the same.
The CT Department of Labor has guidance here on transitioning to the new CT FMLA provisions if an employee’s CT FMLA leave runs from 2021 into 2022.
Currently, family members are defined as the employee’s spouse, child, or parent.
As of January 1, 2022, the definition of family member will also include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and anyone the employee has a relationship with that is equivalent to a family member. This expanded definition could include, for example, a girlfriend, cousin, aunt, or step-grandparent.
Required Notice to Employees
Starting July 1, 2022, employers must provide employees notice of their CT FMLA rights upon hire and once a year afterward. We expect the Connecticut Labor Commissioner to provide a template notice for employers to use.
Paid Time Off
Employers can require employees to use their accrued paid time off during CT FMLA leave. However, employees will be able to choose to keep up to two weeks of their PTO. For example, if an employee has three weeks of PTO and takes six weeks of CT FMLA leave, the employer can require them to use one week of PTO, but the employee can choose to keep two weeks of PTO to take vacation later in the year.
If you already have a CT FMLA policy, be sure to update your policy according to the expansions discussed above. If you are newly covered by CT FMLA, make sure to have a CT FMLA policy. Policies should be updated or implemented by January 1.
Managers should be trained to recognize if leave requests might qualify for CT FMLA and understand that granting CT FMLA leave to eligible employees is required.
CT Paid Leave has assembled FAQs regarding common questions concerning CT FMLA, federal FMLA, and CT Paid Leave which employers may review here. The CT DOL has also issued Guidance concerning the transition to the new [CT] FMLA law on 1/1/22 when an employee has an already approved FMLA leave.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.
By Megan Butz
General Counsel, HR Compliance, Checkwriters
Megan joined Checkwriters in 2020 and is responsible for reviewing, revising, and implementing internal policies of the company, advising on human resource, employment, and labor matters, and monitoring and publishing state and federal legal updates to the Checkwriters News and Compliance Center for distribution to thousands of clients around the country. Before joining Checkwriters, Megan served as a judicial law clerk for the justices of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court performing legal research and writing, followed by private practice in Cape Cod.