Although there are common elements to the many Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) regulations, there are also differences in the way each state designs its plan and coordinates it with other leave types. Here's what you need to know about PFML in Connecticut.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Insurance (CT FMLI) is a statewide program that allows paid time off for covered employees who need to:
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Bond with a child following birth or placement within the first twelve months
- Take time for a qualifying exigency
- Take time for the covered employee’s own serious health condition
- Serve as an organ or bone marrow donor
- Care for a covered service member
- Benefits are also available for leave reasons under Connecticut’s domestic violence leave law.
The collection of contributions for covered individuals began on January 1, 2021, with payment of benefits set to begin by January 1, 2022.
All private employers, who employ one or more CT employees, except for non-public elementary or secondary schools must provide CT PFML coverage to covered individuals through the state-run program or a private plan. Public employers are generally excluded, except with respect to covered public employees.
Covered employees include individuals who have earned at least $2,325 during the employee's highest earning quarter within the base period (the first four of the five most recently completed quarters) and:
- Are presently employed,
- Have been employed by an employer in the previous 12 weeks, or
- Are self-employed individuals or sole proprietors who have opted in to the CT PFML program.
CT PFML will be funded entirely through employees’ contributions at a rate of 0.5% of the covered individual's wages. The amount of an employee’s earnings subject to contributions will be capped at the same amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxes ($142,800 for 2021).
On November 1, 2022, and each subsequent November 1, the contribution rate may be revised, subject to the same 0.5% cap. Any revision would be for the purpose of ensuring that the state’s trust fund will achieve and maintain the target fund balance. The new contribution rate will become effective on the following January 1.
Employers may opt out of the state-run program by choosing an approved private plan for the payment of family and medical benefits (private plan requirements are outlined in the law). The benefits for covered employees must be equivalent to, or greater than, the benefits provided by the CT PFML program. Private plans must be approved by a majority vote of the employer's employees.
Covered individuals will receive a weekly benefit that varies depending on income. A covered employee’s weekly benefits under the program are generally calculated as:
- 95% of his or her average weekly wage, up to 40 times the state minimum wage.
- Plus 60% of the difference between the amount of the employee’s base weekly earnings and 40x the minimum fair wage
Total benefits are capped at 60 times the minimum wage. 60 times the minimum wage will periodically increase until June 1, 2023. On January 1, 2022 it will be equal to $780 weekly based on a $13 minimum fair wage. It will increase to $840 (based on a $14 minimum fair wage) on July 1, 2022, and increase again to $900 (based on a $15 minimum fair wage) on June 1, 2023.
The law will provide employees with up to 12 weeks of CT FMLI benefits over a 12-month period. The program also provides two additional weeks of benefits for a serious health condition that results in incapacitation during pregnancy.
Yes. Intermittent leave will be available but is subject to employer approval in some circumstances.
No, however leave and job protection are provided under CT FMLA, which has been extensively amended through the new legislation, including, but not limited to, shortening the eligibility requirements for job protection to three months and eliminating the minimum hours worked requirement; wage replacement will be provided under CT PFML.
- CT FMLA is an existing leave law which generally requires certain private-sector employers to provide job-protected, unpaid leave to employees for various reasons related to their health or their family members' health.
- CT PFML, the new paid leave law, creates a wage replacement program to provide benefits to eligible employees taking leave for reasons allowed under the CT FMLA.