Who is eligible to participate in the Paid Family and Medical Leave program?
Answer: All Connecticut employers with one or more employees must participate in Connecticut's Paid Leave program. Sole proprietors and self-employed individuals are able to opt-in to the program, but must remain enrolled for a minimum of 3 years. 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 Paid Family and Medical Leave program, but coverage may be collectively bargained.
What are the requirements for eligibility for paid leave benefits?
Answer: An employee becomes eligible for Paid Leave benefits if they have earned wages of at least $2,325 in the highest-earning quarter of the first four of the five most recently completed quarters (the "base period”) and they are currently employed with a covered Connecticut employer. Those not employed, but had been employed by a covered Connecticut employer within the last 12 weeks, or those in Connecticut who are self-employed/sole proprietor and has enrolled in the program.
When am I eligible for paid leave benefits?
Answer: Beginning January 1, 2022, Connecticut employees are eligible to apply for Paid Leave benefits and approved claims may receive payment at that time.
What if employees do not wish to participate in the Paid Leave program?
Answer: Employees are not allowed to opt-out of making mandatory contributions. Connecticut's PFMLA does exempt some employees, and also creates a process for employers to apply for permission to provide paid leave benefits through a private plan. Employees who are exempt from making contributions are not eligible to apply for Paid Leave benefits through the PFMLA.
How will an employer know how much an employee has earned with another employer?
Answer: Employers are not required to determine how much an employee has made at other employers because eligibility for job-protected leave does not require wage information. Eligibility for job-protected leave depends on how long the employee worked for that employer. Although eligibility for Connecticut's Paid Leave program involves wage requirements, the PFMLA will be able to obtain wage information from multiple employers through the Department of Labor.
When will employers receive communications about the file specifications to submit employee contributions?
Answer: Employers will be informed by Fall 2020 which file types are accepted by the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority to accept fund contributions. At a minimum, ACH files will be accepted.
How often can someone take leave? Is there a limit?
Answer: Generally, leave under the federal and Connecticut FMLA — and Paid Leave benefits from the PFMLA — are limited to twelve weeks in a twelve-month period, with the possibility of two additional weeks of leave for incapacity due to pregnancy. Individuals caring for a family member who was injured while on active duty in the military can take up to 26 weeks of leave, but only 12 weeks of that leave is eligible for paid benefits from the PFMLA.
What if my employer offers paid Family and Medical leave?
Answer: If your employer offers a private paid leave program, they may apply to the Paid Leave Authority for an exemption from the program. If the private plan is found to be comparable to Connecticut's Paid Leave program AND a majority of the employees have agreed to the private plan, the employer may receive an exemption from participating with the state's plan.
Can Paid Leave benefits be accessed by employees who need child care for their own child?
Answer: Lack of child care alone is not considered a qualifying reason for paid leave under the PFML. An employee may however take leave to care for a child who has a serious health condition. In addition, an employee whose parent, spouse or child has been called to active military duty may access paid leave benefits to arrange for emergency child care for the servicemember’s child or children. In either of these situations, paid leave benefits are accessible.
What is Connecticut's Paid Family and Medical Leave program?
Answer: Paid Family and Medical Leave is a program administered by the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority that offers Connecticut employees access to paid time off for qualifying life events, including childbirth and seeking treatment for serious health conditions for themselves or their families.
Is my job protected if I utilize Connecticut's Paid Leave program?
Answer: The Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority only offers payment for people who take leave for qualifying events, but does not offer job protection to employees taking leave. Only employers can determine, in communication with the employee, whether the leave taken is subject to job protection under state or federal leave laws.
Is Paid Leave coverage different from COVID-19 leave?
Answer: Yes, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is a different law from state paid leave. Like the FFCRA, however, Connecticut's Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) provides paid leave benefits to employees who cannot work due to their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a family member. The PFML does not apply to situations when an employee cannot work due to school or daycare closures.
Does the Paid Leave program apply to part-time employees?
Answer: Yes. All employees who have earned at least $2,325 in the highest quarter of the first four of the five most recent quarters immediately before their application for leave and who are either currently employed by a Connecticut employer or were employed by a Connecticut employer during the 12 weeks immediately preceding the application are eligible to apply for paid leave.
What are the qualifying reasons for leave?
Answer: Employees, sole proprietors and the self-employed can submit a request for leave for several events. These include:
1. Creating or expanding their family, either by birth, adoption or foster care.
2. To serve as a bone marrow or organ donor.
3. If during pregnancy or after childbirth, a healthcare provider determines that an individual may need a bit more time for recovery, individuals may apply for an extra 2 weeks of leave.
4. To care for their own medical or psychological health condition, including injuries
5. To care for a family member suffering from a medical or psychological health condition
6. If an employee is experiencing family violence, they can apply to take up to 12 days of leave.
7. To care for a family member if injured during active duty and for various other reasons related to when a family member is called to active duty.