• Connecticut’s program covers a variety of reasons for paid leave, including recovery time for an employee’s own medical condition, or caring for a family member. The program will also become one of the first in the nation to expand paid leave to organ and bone marrow donation.
  • The new CT PFML program:
    • Grants up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave within a 12-month period to most employees in the state, with two additional weeks for serious conditions resulting in incapacitation that occurs during a pregnancy
    • Uses a broad definition of family member, which will include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, or people related by blood or affinity whose close association the employees show to be the equivalent of those family relationships.

Eligible employees can take leave for the following reasons:

  • Birth, adoption or foster placement of a child
  • Care of a family member with a serious health condition
  • Employee’s own serious health condition
  • Organ or bone marrow donation
  • Care for ill service member or any qualifying military exigency
  • Family violence issues

CT PFML requires employers using the state plan to begin paying payroll deductions on January 1, 2021. Employers who use private plans don’t have to pay for their private coverage until after January 1, 2022. Benefits start under the program on January 1, 2022.

Starting July 1, 2022, employers are required to provide written notice about the CT PFML program to their employees at the time of hire and to their current employees on an annual basis. The notice must indicate:

  • Employees’ entitlement to benefits under the CT PFML Act
  • How the paid leave can be used
  • That employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for requesting, applying for or using paid leave for which they are eligible
  • Employees’ right to file a complaint with the state Labor Commissioner for any violations of their PFML rights.
  • Benefits will be paid from a state fund generated from employee payroll deductions, unless an employer either purchases a fully-insured product from a private insurance carrier, or self-insures the coverage.
  • If an employer opts out of the state program, the private coverage they choose to provide must:
    • Be approved by the state of Connecticut
    • Meet or exceed the requirements of the state program
    • Be approved by a majority of the organization’s Connecticut employees. For more information on the vote requirement, contact your Guardian Group Sales Consultant or broker.
    • Cost employees no more than the state plan
    • Ensure employees covered under a private plan are not contributing to the state Family and Medical Leave Trust Fund
  • If an employer chooses to self-insure the coverage, the employer must also provide a surety bond approved by Connecticut.
  • Effective employee leave management is key to help ensure your business remains compliant with state laws, helping you avoid costly fines.
  • Guardian has provided employers with statutory disability plans for more than a decade, taking a consultative approach to bring resources together for successful PFML plan implementation and management, no matter the level of complexity. Our management of PFML plans help ensure that any Human Resources team can meet the challenge of efficiently managing employee leaves while easing administrative burden and enhancing compliance.  Our plans are fully insured, state-approved, and backed by digital capabilities designed to help make administration easier. 
  • Guardian delivers you efficiency AND compliance, processing 97.2 percent of new PFML claims within 5 business days.*  
  • Further, our Guardian absence management solutions can help reduce the administrative burden and enhance compliance with the integrated management of STD and LTD benefits, state and federal family medical leaves, and company leaves. Available to companies with 50 or more employees, employers can choose from a variety of plans and service options, including ADA support.
  • To learn more about Guardian leave management services or reach out to your Guardian group sales consultant or broker.

Yes. Connecticut is going to continue to review private plan applications on an ongoing basis and companies can opt out in advance of each quarter’s contribution. 

The next private plan approval deadline is 6/30/21 (see next question) for a 7/1/21 private plan exemption effective date.  If you were to opt out, then 7/1/21 would be the first day that you could stop paying into the state plan.  The benefits still will not start until 1/1/22.

Guardian recommends that you complete your initial opt out application by 6/1/21 to give your company enough time to complete the employee voting process and receive official approval from the state.

First quarter deductions are to be paid on 4/30/21 and second quarter will be due on 7/30/21.  If your application to opt out is approved prior to 6/30/21, then you will not need to pay second quarter contributions or any contributions to the public plan going forward.  Payments to the state are equal to .5% of the total of your Connecticut employee’s wages, which will be deducted directly from your employee’s wages. 

Any deductions paid to the state are final and cannot be used for payment into a private plan.

Yes. Per guidance received from the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority, you can apply those deductions towards funding a private plan.

The state of Connecticut requires the following:

  • Host an employee vote on your private plan choice. The vote must meet these requirements:
    • The vote must involve all employees that work in Connecticut, even those who may be out on leave at the time of the vote. 
    • The majority of those employees must approve the private plan choice, or 50 percent plus 1 of the total number of Connecticut employees. This means that if you have 100 employees who work in Connecticut, 51 of them must approve the private plan choice.
    • The vote must include just one “yes” or “no” question: “Do you approve the company’s private plan to provide benefits required by the CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act?”
      • The vote results must be anonymous.
      • The vote outcome must be shared with Connecticut employees.
      • The state will allow you to use anonymous online voting methodologies.
    • Guardian recommends that you complete your initial opt out application by 6/1/21 to give your company enough time to complete the employee voting process and receive official approval from the state before 6/30/21.
  • Supply a Plain Language Guide
    • Provide your Connecticut employees with the guide at least two weeks in advance of the vote, to help them understand the differences between the state program and a private plan.
    • Make sure the guide follows the state-required template. You are able to add items, but all state-required information must remain.
    • Save a copy of your final guide to submit with your online private plan application with the state.

Disclaimer

*Source: Guardian State Mandated Disability and New York Paid Family Leave Claims Processing Results, 2020. Processing times based on claim received and decision dates.

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