On January 1, 2022, significant changes to Connecticut’s family and medical leave statute became effective, providing enhanced benefits to eligible employees who require temporary leave from work.   As a result, Connecticut employees may now avail themselves of benefits provided through two separate laws, the “Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act” and the “Connecticut Paid Leave Act.”  Each program, which is administered separately, is summarized below.

Connecticut Family and Medical Leave

Connecticut Family and Medical Leave provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid job-protected leave.  One of the most consequential changes to Connecticut Family and Medical Leave is its applicability to small businesses.  Previously, Connecticut’s job-protected leave applied only to employers of seventy-five or more.  However, today, the revised law requires employers with at least one employee (in other words, all employers) to provide such leave with just two conditions.  First, an employee must be employed by the employer for at least three consecutive months to be eligible for leave.  Second, an employee’s accrued paid time off may be applied to the leave if required by the employer or if requested by the employee.  Nevertheless, in a deviation from typical leave programs, an employee may choose to preserve up to two weeks of their accrued paid leave time.  Broadly designed to be flexible, leave may be used in connection with a variety of circumstances, including the birth or adoption of a child, care for a serious health condition of the employee or a family member, to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor, and exigencies arising from military service or domestic violence.

Connecticut Paid Leave

Connecticut Paid Leave provides up to twelve weeks of income replacement to eligible employees and, similar to Connecticut Family and Medical Leave, is applicable to all employers with at least one employee.  Funded through payroll deductions beginning in January 2021, Connecticut Paid Leave is administered through the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority, a newly formed state agency.  Eligible applicants may receive benefits for similar circumstances which are covered by Connecticut Family and Medical Leave as described above.  

Employer Takeaways

In response to this new legislation, Connecticut employers should ensure that they are taking the required payroll deductions for Connecticut Paid Leave.  In addition, employers should review existing leave policies and update such policies to comply with the new laws.  In particular, employers should examine how existing sick leave and short-term disability policies interact with the new laws and adjust such policies accordingly.  For more information, please contact Daniel B. Fitzgerald (dfitzgerald@brodywilk.com) or another BW attorney.

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