Governor Lamont Announces Applications Now Accepted for Connecticut’s New Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
Benefits for Qualifying Events Are Available Starting January 1, 2022
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that applications are now being accepted for Connecticut residents who want to participate in the state’s new paid family and medical leave program. Claims are being accepted for qualifying events that are happening on or after January 1, 2022.
Under the program, which was enacted through legislation championed by Governor Lamont and signed by him in 2019, workers will gain access to the necessary benefits that allow them to take time off work to care for their own health, a newborn child, or a sick family member. Eligible workers can receive up to 12 weeks of income replacement for qualifying events.
Connecticut is only the eighth state in the nation to enact a paid family and medical leave program. While most other modern countries in the world have some type of paid family and medical leave program, the United States does not. Only 13% of private-sector workers in the United States have access to paid family and medical leave.
“This is a milestone in Connecticut as we begin to accept benefit applications for one of the strongest paid family and medical leave programs in the nation,” Governor Lamont said. “Supporting the workers of our state will strengthen our economic footing and make Connecticut a stronger place to live, work, and do business. With the launch of this program, workers who need to take time off for a new baby or to recover from an illness are not punished financially, and businesses do not risk losing good workers during those emergencies. This is long overdue, and I am proud that we’re enacting a program that will be a benefit to both workers and businesses.”
The program is administered by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority. Applications can be submitted through its website at ctpaidleave.org or via email, fax, phone, or mail. The toll-free application hotline is 877-499-8606.
“Applying online is the fastest and easiest way to submit your application,” Connecticut Paid Leave Authority CEO Andrea Barton Reeves explained. “It also makes it easy for workers to check the status of a claim, review correspondence, view payments for a claim, and communicate with case managers.”
Qualifying reasons to submit a claim include:
- Medical leave for one’s own serious health condition (which includes pregnancy, as well as serving as a bone marrow or organ donor)
- Caregiver leave to care for a family member experiencing a serious health condition
- Bonding leave to bond with a new child that has entered a person’s home through birth, adoption, or foster care
- Family violence leave to address issues arising from family violence
- Qualifying exigency leave to address issues arising from a parent, child, or spouse’s military deployment
- Military caregiver leave to care for a family member injured during active duty in the United States Armed Forces
The amount of income replacement varies based on a worker’s earnings and is capped at 60 times the state minimum wage. The combination of employer-provided benefits and benefits received under the paid leave program cannot exceed 100% of a worker’s normal weekly earnings.
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said, “Connecticut is leading the way with our paid leave program by creating a working environment where everyone can succeed. The pandemic has exposed the critical need for paid leave. Now with the implementation of benefits, a burden will be eased off of Connecticut workers who will no longer have to worry about lost income in the event that they need to care for themselves or their families.”
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said, “Providing paid family and medical leave to all workers is one of the most important causes of my life. When kids get sick, when aging parents need help, when a spouse is sick, family has got to be there for them, but there are still bills to paid. Paid family and medical leave makes it possible for people to care for themselves and the people they love without losing their jobs, or facing eviction, or losing their homes. This is an exciting moment for Connecticut as we lead the way as one of the very few states providing an exemplary paid family and medical leave program across the country. I am proud to have been a part of Connecticut’s fight to enact this critical legislation, and I continue to fight in Washington so that hardworking families in every state can access this benefit.”
State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury), co-chair of the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, said, “I’m so proud that paid family and medical leave is a reality in Connecticut. Nearly everyone has a story about how paid leave could have helped them or someone they know through a difficult time. Thankfully, now residents who are facing serious health concerns – or joyful occasions like welcoming a new child – can take the time they need to focus on themselves and their loved ones.”
State Representative Robyn Porter (D-Hamden, New Haven), co-chair of the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, said, “Paid leave is good for families and good for businesses. It will help to relieve the burden of workers who need to be there for their loved ones while allowing them to retain their employment, thus strengthening Connecticut’s economy.”
Janée Woods Weber, executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), said, “We are proud of Connecticut’s leadership in adopting one of the most comprehensive paid family and medical leave programs in the nation in 2019, just a year before the COVID-19 crisis struck and showed all of us just how critical this policy is to workers and their families. Starting today, workers can begin to find peace of mind in knowing that when they need time away from work to recover from a serious illness, welcome a child, or care for a family member, paid family and medical leave will be there for them. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Lamont and the team at the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority to ensure workers across our state understand the new law and receive the paid leave benefits they need and deserve.”
Josh Geballe, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services and chief operating officer, who also serves as chair of the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority’s board of directors, said, “We are thrilled to go live today on time and under budget. Our strategy to implement this program as a quasi-public agency leveraging public-private partnerships has paid off. My deepest thanks go out to our board of directors and our small but talented staff led by our amazing CEO Andrea Barton Reeves.”
For additional information about the program, visit ctpaidleave.org.