Don’t Just Leave Leave Alone: Whether You Have 1 Employee or 100, Private Employers Must Act Quickly to Comply with Changes to Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Law

by Megan Carannante and Zachary Zeid

As we discussed in a recent blog post, the law on Connecticut Family Medical Leave was amended in several significant respects as of January 1, 2022.

Most notably, the revised law now requires private employers with at least one employee to provide job-protected FMLA leave for up to twelve weeks to their employees who are dealing with a serious medical condition themselves or to care for a family member with a serious medical condition. Income substitution benefits are also available from the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority to employees on CT FMLA leave.  

Action Steps for Small Employers With Fewer Than 50 Employees

These changes to the law are especially significant for small employers with fewer than 50 employees who, prior to this year, have not been required to provide such leave to their employees under the previous version of the CT FMLA or its federal counterpart, the federal FMLA. Small employers will need to take immediate steps to ensure compliance with the law’s new requirements. These steps include developing and circulating a FMLA policy, updating workplace notices and educating supervisors and employees about the parameters of the new law, including leave entitlements and the availability of income substitution benefits from the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority. Additionally, small employers must also act quickly to develop and implement procedures, forms, and other documents to provide for proper administration of CT FMLA requests when made. They will also need to examine how the availability of income substitution benefits interacts with existing PTO, vacation, sick time and short and long-term disability policies and make adjustments to those policies as needed. 

Action Steps for Large Employers With More Than 50 Employees

Larger employers who have been subject to the CT FMLA and federal FMLA in the past will similarly need to take immediate steps to address certain changes as well. They should review and revise their policies and procedures to address the significant amendments made to the previous version of the CT FMLA and the income substitution benefits which will now be available from the Paid Leave Authority.  These changes include revisions to eligibility criteria for taking CT FMLA leave, the number of weeks of leave available, how leave is calculated, and an expanded definition of who qualifies as a “family member,” among others. Large employers will also need to revise the forms and processes they used previously to account for the changes to the law and determine whether their leave policies require adjustment much like their counterparts with smaller work forces.

Our Labor and Employment attorneys have been working closely with employers of all sizes to address these changes and can assist your organization in ensuring compliance. Pullman & Comley has policy templates, model forms, and other useful resources and communications to assist your organization in addressing these complicated issues. Please contact any of Pullman & Comley’s Labor and Employment attorneys for more information.

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