- Connecticut employees may begin filing for paid leave under the state’s new program for foreseeable leaves that will take place in the new year
- Paid leave benefits will become available starting Jan. 1
- Income replacement is available for a variety of circumstances, including personal illness, caring for a new child, or coping with an incident of family violence
Summary by Dirk Langeveld
Starting today, Connecticut employees who qualify for the state’s paid leave program can begin submitting applications for income replacement for qualifying absences that will take place in 2022.
The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority says applications should be submitted 30 days in advance of foreseeable leaves, and the program’s benefits will be available on Jan. 1. It also recommends that applications be submitted as soon as possible for unforeseen leaves.
Applications can be made online, by mail, by e-mail, by fax, or over the phone. The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority recommends online applications, saying this method is fastest and allows applicants to check the status of their claim.
Applicants must first create an account with the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority to submit an online application, and this process is estimated to take about 10 minutes. A short video walkthrough of this process is available here.
Once a claim has been submitted, the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority collects employer information to verify that the employee is eligible and determine appropriate payments. Employees receive a verification form to submit to their employer to determine information such as date of hire, typical work days, scheduled work hours, and other income such as paid sick leave or paid time off. The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority seeks to have this information returned no later than 10 days from the claim submission or the employee’s first date of absence, whichever is later.
Employees should also submit required documentation as soon as possible after filing their claim, and have these documents in no later than 15 days from the claim submission or their first date of absence, whichever is later. Qualifying documents vary based on the circumstances necessitating the leave, and a full checklist is available here. All claims must be accompanied by a document verifying the employee’s identity, such as a copy of their passport or driver’s license.
The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority makes a decision on the claim within five days of receiving all information related to the claim. Benefits will be issued weekly on Tuesdays and are paid two weeks in arrears, via electronic funds transfers or with a debit card.
Since the start of this year, the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority has been collecting funds for the benefit through a 0.5 percent deduction on employee payrolls. Any employers with at least one employee have been required to make this deduction, unless they offer a comparable private plan for paid leave; self-employed workers and sole proprietors can also enroll in the program.
To qualify, employees must have earned wages of at least $2,325 in the highest quarter of the first four of the five most recently completed quarters. The wages can include salary or hourly pay as well as vacation or holiday pay, tips, commissions, severance pay, and the value of any “in-kind” payments. Employees must also be employed or have been employed within the last 12 weeks.
Employees can collect up to 12 weeks of paid leave by periodically drawing the benefits, setting up a reduced work schedule, or taking the leave in the single block. Qualifying circumstances to receive benefits include:
- Care for a newborn or children joining a family via adoption or foster care
- Treatment or recovery from a serious health condition requiring care, or care for a family member with such a condition; this can include organ or bone marrow donation
- Time to receive medical or psychological care, get assistance from a victim services organization, relocate, or participate in any civil or criminal proceedings due to family violence
- Care for a family member who was injured while on active duty, or to address specific qualifying exigencies connected with a family member’s overseas military service
- Time to address qualifying exigencies related to an active call to duty
Different pay scales are provided based on an employee’s earnings. If their wages are less than or equal to the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40, their weekly benefit rate while on paid leave will be 95 percent of their average weekly wage. Due to scheduled increases in the state’s minimum wage, the measure for the 40 times multiplier will start at $520 a week when the program begins, increase to $560 on July 1, 2022, and again to $600 on June 1, 2023.
If an employee’s wages wages exceed the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40, their weekly benefit rate will be 95 percent of the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40 plus 60 percent of the amount their average weekly wage exceeds the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40.
The weekly benefit rate is capped at 60 times the Connecticut minimum wage. This will be limited to $780 a week at the start of the program, rising to $840 on July 1, 2022 and $900 on June 1, 2023.