This table provides a summary of the anticipated changes to Connecticut Family and Medical Leave beginning January 1, 2022:
|Current State||Changes Beginning January 1, 2022|
|Covered Employers||Applies to employers with 75 or more employees||Applies to employers with 1 or more employees|
|Time Worked Requirement||Employees must have worked at least 12 months for the employer ||No hours worked requirement|
|Leave Amount||16 weeks of leave allowed in a 24-month period||Up to 12 weeks of leave allowed (up to 16 weeks for military caregiver leave) in a 12-month period|
|PTO Accruals||Employer can require employees to use all accrued time for paid time off||Employer can require employees to use accrued time off but must allow employee to keep up to two weeks of accrued paid time off|
Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA) applies to employers with 75 or more employees nationwide and entitles eligible employees to a total of 16 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 24-month period. In June 2019, significant amendments were made to the CT FMLA, with key changes effective January 1, 2022. In tandem with these amendments, the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave (CT PFML) Program was also created to provide wage replacement for eligible employees who take leave for a permitted purpose under CT FMLA. For more information about the CT PFML Program, visit our blog post. It is anticipated that the Connecticut Labor Commissioner will adopt regulations to implement these amendments along with the CT PFML Program by January 2022. This article summarizes the CT FMLA and highlights what we know for far about the anticipated changes taking effect.
Effective January 1, 2022, the CT FMLA is applicable to employers with one or more employees working in Connecticut.
An employee who has been employed at least three months immediately preceding his or her request for leave.
Amount of Leave
CT FMLA entitles eligible employees to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period. Eligible employees may also take up to two additional weeks of leave during such 12-month period for a serious health condition resulting in incapacitation that occurs during pregnancy.
Determining the 12-Month Period
The 12-month period may be determined utilizing any one of the following methods:
- A calendar year;
- Any fixed 12-month period, such as a fiscal year or a 12-month period measured forward from an employee’s first date of employment;
- A 12-month period measured forward from an employee’s first day of leave taken under the CT FMLA; or
- A rolling 12-month period measured backward from an employee’s first day of leave taken under the CT FMLA.
Qualifying Reasons for CT FMLA
Eligible employees may take CT FMLA leave for any of the following permitted purposes:
- Upon the birth of a son or daughter of the employee;
- Upon the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
- To care for the family member of an employee with a serious health condition;
- Due to a serious health condition of the employee;
- To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor;
- Due to any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty, in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Spouses Employed by Same Employer
When two spouses entitled to CT FMLA leave are employed by the same employer, the aggregate number of workweeks of leave to which both may be entitled may be limited to 12 workweeks (26 workweeks for military caregiver) during any 12-month period.
Employee Notice Requirement
If the need is foreseeable, the employee must provide the employer with at least 30 days’ notice of the intention to take leave under CT FMLA. If unforeseeable, and leave must occur in less than 30 days, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable.
Certification of CT FMLA Qualifying Reason
Employers may require that employees provide certification from a health care provider along with the request for CT FMLA leave. Employers may not require recertification more than once during a 30-day period. In no case may employers unreasonably require recertification. Employers must pay for any recertifications that are not covered by employees’ health insurance.
An employee is entitled to restoration to the employment position held prior to taking leave upon return from CT FMLA. If the original position of employment is not available, then the employee is entitled to restoration to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. In the case of medical leave, if the employee is medically unable to perform the original job upon return from leave, the employee is entitled to be transferred to a position suitable to their physical condition if such position is available.
Retaliation is Prohibited
Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against an employee for exercising his or her CT FMLA rights. Additionally, no person may discharge, cause to be discharged, or in any manner discriminate against any individual because the individual has filed a charge, provided information or testified in connection to an inquiry or proceeding, related to the violation of rights provided by CT FMLA.
Interaction with Existing Employer Leave Policies
CT FMLA leave is unpaid. However, eligible employees may elect, or an employer may require, the employee to substitute any of the employee’s accrued paid vacation leave, personal leave, or family leave for any part of the 16-week period of unpaid CT FMLA leave or for any part of the 26-week period (for military caregiver leave). Employers may run paid leave concurrently with unpaid family and medical leave.
Interaction with CT PFML Program
The CT PFML Program and the unpaid CT FMLA will generally run concurrently when used for a permitted purpose under both laws; however, that may not always be the case. The Connecticut Labor Commissioner will adopt regulations to clarify and implement the CPFML program, and amend the CT FMLA, by January 1, 2022.
Connecticut employers should be aware of the impending changes to the CT FMLA and be sure to update their policies accordingly. The interaction between federal, state, and local leave requirements is becoming more complex. Connecticut employers are encouraged to reach out to their dedicated employment law counsel for guidance.