Paid Family Leave Law Enacted

On June 25, 2019, Gov. Lamont signed into law SB 1, creating Public Act No. 19-25. This is a new law in CT relating to paid family and medical leave (CT PFML). It generally requires all private employers with employees who work in CT to provide paid leave to eligible employees, and the law expands the reasons for which an employee may take a leave. As background, CT already has protections for family and medical leave under its CT family and medical leave Act (CF MLA) — but that law does not require a protected leave to be paid. The new law CT PFML creates that new paid leave requirement, as outlined below.

Beginning on January 1, 2022, eligible employees may begin taking CT PFML leave. CT PFML provides up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave within a 12-month period. In addition, employees who have a serious health condition resulting in incapacitation during pregnancy will be eligible for two additional weeks of paid leave. An employee is eligible for CT PFML if they have been working for at least three months prior to the leave request. Generally speaking, the benefit amount is 95% of the employee’s base weekly earnings, capped at an amount that is 60 times the state minimum wage.

CT PFML will be administered by the state (through a newly created regulatory board), so employers will not have to provide benefit payments. However, CT employers will – beginning in 2022 – have to notify their employees of their rights under CT PFML. We anticipate that the new CT regulatory board will provide model notices in advance of that employee notification requirement. Employers will have to notify employees both upon hire and annually thereafter.

CT PFML applies to employers with as few as one employee (and appears to include remote employees working in CT, even if the employer primarily operates in a different state). CT PFML also expands the definition of “family member” to include an employee’s spouse, sibling, son or daughter, grandchild, grandparent, domestic partner, or an individual related to the employee by blood or affinity (if that affinity can be shown to be the equivalent of a family relationship). Employees can take CT PFML for the same reasons they could take CFMLA, which include birth, adoption, or foster care of a child, to take care of a spouse or 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, or because of any qualifying exigency arising out of a military duty (a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the armed forces).

CT’s PFML will be funded through an employee payroll tax of 0.5%, which will begin in January 2021. The new payroll tax will be subject to the Social Security cap (currently $132,900). Employers will need to work with payroll providers to ensure the appropriate taxes are withheld — they’ll have a year and a half to work through that, considering the January 2021 applicability date.

CT PFML does allow for employers to apply for an exemption, assuming the employer provides a private plan that is at least as generous as CT PFML’s requirements for paid leave. CT’s regulatory board has been directed to outline the exemption process. Separately, employers participating in the state plan can coordinate their leave policies with CT PFML. They can require employees to substitute PTO or other paid leave during a CF MLA leave, although the employee still has the right to reserve up to two weeks of any such available PTO or other paid leave.

Overall, the new law creates additional responsibilities for employers with employees in CT. CT PFML requirements do not take effect until 2021 (employee payroll deductions commence) and 2022 (employees may begin taking leave), so there is plenty of time. But employers should work with their payroll providers and outside counsel in developing appropriate leave policies to include CT’s new PFML requirements.

Public Act No. 19-25 »
Press Release »