By John Gannon
Earlier this week, my colleague Amelia Holstrom blogged about leave laws that are unique to Massachusetts employers. Amelia also announced that we will be presenting complimentary webinars on March 26 (MA leave law obligations) and March 28 (CT leave law obligations) from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. You can register for one or both webinars here:
Today, I am bringing you a preview of the leave laws in Connecticut that I will be discussing on March 28 (note that I will also spend a few minutes at the very beginning of the webinar talking about the new CT law that prohibits employers from asking job candidates about pay history).
Connecticut FMLA (“CFMLA”)
Similar to federal law, the CFMLA requires certain employers to grant an unpaid leave of absence to eligible employees in the case of a birth or adoption of a child, or serious health condition of the employee or certain family members. Leave may also be taken so that the employee may serve as a bone marrow or organ donor.
Although the CFMLA generally tracks the federal counterpart, there are notable differences, including (but not limited to):
- The law only applies to private employers with 75 or more employees working in CT
- Employees who qualify are entitled to 16 weeks of job protected leave to be used in a 24-month period, as opposed to 12 weeks of leave to be used in 12 months under federal law.
- Notice requirements (eligibility, designation, and medical certification) must be provided to employees within 2 business days, not 5 as permissible under FMLA
These and other differences will be discussed during the webinar on March 28.
Paid Sick Leave
Connecticut state law requires employers of 50 or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to all “service workers.” The definition of “service worker” is broad and based on various designated classifications set forth in the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Standard Occupational Classification System. This definition will be discussed in detail during my webinar, as well as the permissible reasons for using sick leave and strategies for preventing abuse.
Qualifying employees can begin using paid sick leave after working an initial 680 hours. Covered employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for each 40 hours worked. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to the following calendar year, but employers are not required to allow an employee to take more than 40 hours of sick time during a calendar year, regardless of how much sick time is accumulated.
Employers may choose to provide other types of paid leave for purposes of compliance with the law, such as paid vacation days or other forms of paid time off. Any paid time off policy must provide the minimum amount of sick leave that is provided by the statute, at the same rate of accrual.
Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against any employee who (1) requests or uses paid sick leave as provided by Connecticut law or in accordance with the company’s paid sick leave policy or (2) files a complaint alleging violations of the law. This protection applies to all employees, not just your service workers.
CT law does not specifically require parental leave, beyond the obligations in CFMLA. However, this might be changing as legislators in the state are considering a new paid family and medical leave proposal. Plus, state law requires that employers grant reasonable accommodations to employees affected by pregnancy or pregnancy related medical conditions, which could include a job protected leave of absence from work.
Employers in CT are required to pay full-time employees their regular wages for the first 5 days of jury duty. Under the state law, “full-time” is defined as an employee holding a position normally requiring 30 hours or more of service in each week.
Employers are required to allow employees who are victims of family violence to take paid or unpaid leave when it is reasonably necessary: (1) to seek medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability for the victim, (2) to obtain services from a victim services organization on behalf of the victim, (3) to relocate due to such family violence, or (4) to participate in any civil or criminal proceeding related to or resulting from such family violence. All employees are eligible for leave due to family violence, and employers can limit unpaid Family Violence leave to 12 days during a calendar year. The definition of “family violence” is broad, and something we will address in more detail during the webinar on March 28.
Employers in Connecticut have numerous laws that protect employees who are out of work for legally protected reasons. These laws can have significant penalties for employers who unknowingly make mistakes. Join our webinar on March 28, 2019, as we discuss CT leave laws and give participants a chance to ask questions about leave law compliance.