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Connecticut’s Family Leave Deductions Moving Forward as Planned

  • Payroll deductions for Connecticut’s family and medical leave program will begin as scheduled on Friday
  • Governor Ned Lamont again stresses importance of such programs in his rejection of a Republican proposal to delay the deductions
  • Deductions will begin funding benefits that will become available at the start of 2022

Governor Ned Lamont has reiterated his decision that payroll deductions for Connecticut’s paid family and medical leave program will begin Friday, rejecting a call by state Republicans for a delay.

The 0.5 percent payroll deduction on the first $142,800 in wages will begin the process of establishing a source of funds for the benefits. Employees can begin making claims at the end of 2021, and benefits will become available on Jan. 1, 2022.

The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, approved along party lines in 2019, provides 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who are experiencing a personal illness or need to provide care to a family member. Employees can draw up to 95 percent of their pay, capped at 60 times the minimum wage; this will amount to $900 a week when Connecticut’s minimum wage increases to $15 an hour in 2023.

Critics of the program say it is burdensome to small companies, since it covers all businesses with at least one employee. Companies may ask for an exemption if they offer similar benefits, and self-employed people or sole proprietors can also apply to participate.

Republicans first raised the prospect of delaying the payroll deductions earlier this month, and have contended that doing so will offer respite to restaurants and other businesses that have been struggling with lower revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lamont quickly rejected the idea, saying the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of family and medical leave programs.

State officials urged employers to begin making deductions as soon as possible, saying they could be on the hook for any missed contributions since labor laws forbid additional deductions from employees. The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority has further instructions on registering for the program or seeking an exemption.

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