On June 25, 2019, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave law (CTPFML). Below are some highlights from the new law updated with the most recent developments. Despite setbacks due to COVID 19 issues, the deadline to begin collecting contributions in 2021 remains intact. The new CTPFML program will expand the existing Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA), which currently is similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Coinciding with the start of benefits in 2022, the CTPFML law amends current CTFMLA definitions for eligible employees, family members and serious health conditions, among other amendments.
Employer Responsibilities and Deadlines:
- Eligible employers in the State of CT must register with the CT Paid Leave Authority by December 31st. If you intend to offer a private plan to employees you will indicate that during the registration process. Even if you are not sure about offering a private plan but are contemplating it, indicate yes when asked, your response is not binding. You can register here.
- Payroll deductions to the CT Paid Leave Authority must begin with the first pay period on or after January 1, 2021. For new hires the contribution obligation begins upon hire for anyone starting after January 1, 2021. Employers will want to review the program, visit the CT Paid Leave Authority website for further information (click here), discuss the program with their payroll vendors and notify employees of the payroll deduction (there is no statutory requirement to notify employees of the payroll deduction beginning in January but it is considered best practice). Click here for a copy of the CT Paid Leave Authority’s sample payroll stuffer.
- Submit employee contributions to the CT Paid Leave Authority. The contributions must be remitted quarterly; however, employers have a one-month grace period. For example, the first quarterly contributions are due on March 31st, 2021; but employers have until April 30, 2021 to remit their first quarter payment.
- Communicate with employees and the CT Paid Leave Authority about leave requests. Employees will continue to apply for leave through their employers. If there is no paid leave option available to the employee, they can then apply to the CT Paid Leave Authority for income replacement while on leave. The CT Paid Leave Authority may contact the employer to verify the leave request.
- If you are contemplating offering a private plan in lieu of remitting deductions to the CT Paid Leave Authority, the plan you provide must provide the same level of benefits, eligibility and leave reasons as the CT plan and it must be approved initially by a majority vote of your eligible employees (full-time and part-time):
- When registering with the Authority, indicate “yes” when asked if you are applying for a private plan. You will be sent a separate link for the private plan approval process. Indicating yes when registering does not obligate you to go forward with applying for a private plan;
- Given the timing of the deductions and the required documentation to apply for a private plan, employers applying for a private plan are encouraged to start payroll deductions in January. If your private plan is approved by March 31, 2021, you will not be required to remit those deductions to the Authority;
- When applying for a private plan, employers will be required to:
- Visit the link sent to you after you have registered to upload required documents for the Authority to review your plan. These include: insurance company’s approved declaration of insurance (fully insured) or the self-insurance declaration, the plain language guide, and information regarding the voting process. If self-funded and the vote is approved, you must also obtain a surety bond (annually) in the amount of what your payroll withholdings would be if you were to take payroll deductions for the CT plan;
- Hold a vote of all its employees on whether they want a private plan or the CT Plan. The vote must pass by more than 50% in favor of a private plan to proceed. Notice and an explanation of the vote must be given at least 2 weeks prior to the vote;
- Log into your account at the Authority to validate your vote results;
- Please click here to find out more information about private plans and documents that are needed. If you are using a fully insured carrier to manager your leave program, they should also be able to assist you with your registration and with the required documents. This link also includes a list of fully insured carriers whose plans were approved by the Authority and have an available Declaration of Insurance;
- Diversified does not offer a self-funded leave plan at this time. We can assist you, however, in the marketing and placement of a fully insured option.
For More Information:
Visit the CT Paid Leave Authority website for informational materials, posters, payroll stuffers and guidance. Also view their FAQs here.
Important: Benefits payments do not begin until January 1, 2022. The Authority has not issued final regulations. This leaves some areas of uncertainty, such as concurrent benefit tracking, method to measure eligibility for leave, increment of time allowed for intermittent leave, tracking job protection, and whether employee deductions are pre- or post-tax (all indications are post-tax, but the Authority has not issued a directive). For now, employers need to register with the Authority, discuss with their payroll vendor, begin deductions in January. The mechanics of the regulation will be forthcoming and Diversified will continue to track for new developments.