As we speed closer to January 1, the date when payments will begin under Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act and the effective date of changes to Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA), below are some updates and considerations for employers.
Paid Leave Applications
On December 1, the applications process opened for Connecticut Paid Leave (CPL) benefits related to leave dates on or after January 1, 2022. If an employee submits a CPL benefits claim, the employee is responsible for providing an Employment Verification form to the employer. The employer then must complete and return the form within 10 days by email or fax to the Paid Leave Authority’s claims administrator, Aflac. Once employees have submitted all required documentation, they will be notified within 5 days of the disposition of their claim. It is anticipated that employers will be notified at the same time by the method selected on the Employment Verification form (email or U.S. mail).
Connecticut FMLA Changes
Effective January 1, the existing CT FMLA will change dramatically. Many employers who previously were not covered by the law will now be diving into leave administration. The Connecticut Department of Labor regulations regarding these changes are pending. Once released, they will be subject to a 30-day comment period before becoming final. Per the amended CT FMLA statute, the regulations are due to be adopted by January 1, 2022.
Things to Consider Now
- As soon as possible, finalize any remaining decisions about how employer-paid benefits will interact with Connecticut Paid Leave benefits. Communicate these decisions to employees, including any requirement that an employee apply for Paid Leave in order to access company-provided paid benefits for a covered reason.
- Consider waiting to roll out new or updated CT FMLA policies and forms until the CT DOL regulations are finalized. In the interim, employers should communicate changes to the law, explain leave entitlements to employees seeking leave after January 1, and make modifications as needed to current forms and communications.
- Consider any steps needed to appropriately track CT FMLA and Federal FMLA (if applicable). For now, we recommend tracking the two “extra” weeks available under CT FMLA for an incapacity during a pregnancy separately from the general 12-week CT FMLA entitlement. Employers are not required to track Paid Leave usage, but may wish to do so.
- Identify the individual to whom employees must direct Employment Verification forms and advise when they have applied for leave and been approved for benefits.
- Employers will need to carefully consider how to handle current continuous CT FMLA leaves that run from 2021 into 2022.
Jackson Lewis attorneys will continue to track developments and provide updates. If you have any questions, contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.