In 2019, the Connecticut legislature passed sweeping changes to the state’s existing Family and Medical Leave Act, about which we previously reported here. One of the most significant changes is that beginning in 2022, eligible employees will be entitled to paid family and medical leave. Although the paid leave requirement does not take effect until next year, there are a number of 2021 deadlines about which employers should be aware.
Website and Mandatory Employer Registration
The 2019 amendments to the PFMLA created the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority (the “Authority”), to administer the paid leave program. The Authority has created an informational and registration website for employees and employers: www.ctpaidleave.org.
All Connecticut employers with one or more employees are required to participate in the paid family and medical leave program and must register on the Authority’s website. Employer registration is now open. Instructions and a video tutorial to learn the process are posted on the website.
Paid leave will be funded solely by employee payroll deductions, which began on January 1, 2021. Currently, the program taxes employees are taxed 0.5 percent of their weekly wages (capped at the Social Security base, which is currently $142,800 for 2021).
Employers must submit employee contributions to the Authority quarterly, no later than the last business day of the month after the close of the quarter. Late payments may be subject to penalties and interest. In addition, if an employer does not remit required contributions after being notified that contributions are owed, the Authority will exercise its legal authority to work with a state collection agency to collect the monies owed, including penalties and interest.
Employers may submit the contributions directly to the Authority, or a third party administrator (i.e., payroll company) may submit on behalf of employers.
Exemption for Qualified Private Plans
An employer can apply for an exemption from the paid leave program if it offers its own paid family and medical leave that provides its employees with all of the same rights, protections and benefits as provided by the PFMLA and a majority of employer’s employees working in Connecticut vote in favor of the private plan. Information regarding how to apply for an exemption is available on the Authority’s website.
Summary of Key Dates in 2021
- Ongoing: register for the paid leave program
- January 1, 2021: employee payroll tax deductions begin
- March 31, 2021: first quarter payroll contributions period ends
- April 30, 2020: last day for employers to remit first quarter payroll contributions to Authority
- Fall 2021: employees can begin to submit applications to the Authority for paid leave benefits
- January 1, 2022: paid leave benefits available to approved applicants