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On June 25, 2019, Gov. Ned Lamont signed the Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) program. PFML allows e

Wednesday, October 14, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Paul Sicilian
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On June 25, 2019, Gov. Ned Lamont signed the Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) program. PFML allows eligible employees working in Connecticut the opportunity to take paid leave to address personal or family needs. There are several changes to the current CT FMLA that are important for employers to understand and require action.

The PFML will be administered by a newly quasi-public agency, the Paid Leave Authority. The program will be funded by employees and sole proprietors. Employers are responsible for withholding and submitting payments to the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority (CPLA). Collection of wages will begin on January 1, 2021 and payments of benefits to eligible employees will begin on January 1, 2022.  

What You Need To Do Now?
  • On or after November 1, 2020, register your company at the CT Paid Leave Authority to establish your account. 
  • Determine how your plan compares to the state plan for a possible exemption from the CT Paid Leave plan (requires employee agreement).
  • Visit www.ctpaidleave.org for more information.

Highlights of PFML:
Participation and Eligibility
  • Employers with as few as one employee in Connecticut will be required to provide 12 weeks of paid leave, with the additional two weeks available to eligible employees who experience a pregnancy-related serious health condition that results in incapacitation.
  • Eligible employees must work for the employer for three months and have earned at least $2,325 in a “base period” to be eligible. 
  • 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 have enrolled in the program are eligible. 

Funding of the Program
  • PFML will be funded through payroll deduction beginning on January 1, 2021. The required deduction and withholding of a mandatory tax of 0.5% from all employee paychecks. 
  • The amount of wages subject to the paid leave tax is tied to the amount of annual earnings plus 60% of earnings above 40 times the minimum wage per hour. The total weekly compensation will be capped at 60 times the minimum wage per hour. Earnings are subject to Social Security taxes ($132,900).
  • Leave under Connecticut’s current FMLA does not have to be paid. Under the Act, employees who qualify for leave can receive a maximum of $780 per week for up to 12 weeks when the Act goes into effect on January 1, 2022. It will increase to $900 in June 2023.

Alternative Programs
  • Employers may offer a paid family and medical leave benefit that is equal to or better than the state’s plan.
  • Private plans must provide all the same rights, protections and benefits as the state plan.
  • Private plans must be approved by a majority of the employer’s employees and cost to the employees must be no more than the state plan.

Qualifying Events
  • Creating or expanding your family, either by birth, adoption or foster care. 
  • To serve as a bone marrow or organ donor.
  • 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.  
  • To care for your own medical or psychological health condition, including injuries 
  • To care for a family member suffering from a medical or psychological health condition 
  • If an employee is experiencing family violence, they can apply to take up to 12 days of leave.
  • 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.
  • The PFML does not apply to situations when an employee cannot work due to school or daycare closures.

Definition of Family Member
  • Spouse, child or parent
  • Parent-in-law, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, or an individual related to the employee by blood or whose close association to the employee is the equivalent of those family relationships.

Important Dates:
  • November 1, 2020 - Employers can begin registering their businesses with the CPLA.
  • January 1, 2021: Employee payroll withholdings begin. 
  • March 31, 2021: First quarter payments of payroll deductions are due. 
  • June 30, 2021: Second quarter payments of payroll deductions are due. 
  • September 31, 2021: Third quarter payments of payroll deductions are due. 
  • Fall 2021: Qualifying employees can apply for paid leave benefits. 
  • December 31, 2021: Fourth quarter payments of payroll deductions are due. 
  • January 1, 2022: Benefits payments to eligible employees begin

The information above is courtesy of Whittlesey.

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