Paid FMLA Mandate Signed Into Law: Employers Plan Now For 2021 & Beyond
Earlier this week Governor Lamont signed into law Public Act 19-25 (Senate Bill 1), “An Act Concerning Paid Family Medical Leave”, which will establish a program for paid family and medical leave for nearly all employers and employees in the state. While Connecticut joins just 6 other states (including MA, RI, NY and NJ) that have some type of required paid family and medical leave, the level of benefits that will be offered in Connecticut will be among the most generous in the nation. CHCC was an active participant in a coalition of over 30 different associations and companies representing the business community opposing the paid FMLA mandate during the legislative session, but in the end the Governor and the majority leadership in the legislature who campaigned on this issue last fall were able to bring together enough votes to pass the bill, despite the strong and continuing objections of the business community.
Here’s what contractors and associates need to know about this new law:
WHO does it apply to?
Employees at ANY private business operating in Connecticut with 1 OR MORE employees are required to participate. Self-employed individuals and sole proprietors will have the option to join in the program, subject to certain requirements.
HOW will it work?
Employees will be required to contribute a .05 percent payroll tax to fund the program. Employees will then be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid time off every year to deal with self or family medical or other leave situations, with additional time possible for serious complications post-pregnancy. Employees can take leave to care for a wide-variety of family and even non-family members in certain circumstances for various approved leave conditions. Employee benefits paid under the program will be up to 95% of their average weekly wages but to be capped at $900 a week. Employers will be responsible for administering and remitting the payroll tax to the program vendor (presumably the state, but could also be a private third-party administrator, details still TBD). Employers will also be responsible for holding open a job for an employee out on eligible leave and ensuring compliance with the various FMLA protections and mandates.
WHEN do the key provisions take effect?
Even though the law was signed by the Governor this week, the program will not be functional for another couple of years. Starting January 1, 2021, employee contributions to the fund will begin. Then, beginning in January of 2022, employees will be eligible to take leave and the FMLA job protection and compliance requirements for employers will be in effect.
WHERE can employers go with questions or for more information?
There are still many outstanding questions and details to be determined about this new FMLA program. The legislation establishes a new quasi-public state authority to develop and administer the program. It is anticipated that over the next two years this new authority will develop additional details, rules and regulations to enact the program. In the meantime, for questions please contact the CHCC Government Affairs Committee and/or consider reaching out to your local state legislator. CHCC will continue to bring you updates and more information as the authority further develops the program in advance of 2021.
Attention P license holders: New Residential Fire Sprinkler Regulations Approved
Earlier this week the legislature’s Regulations Review Committee approved Department of Consumer Protection’s (DCP) regulations that will establish a new limited license for performing work on residential fire sprinkler systems. Essentially, the approved regulations create a new limited license category solely for residential work (defined as one and two family homes, as well as mobile/manufactured housing stock). The regulations allow current plumbing license holders (P-1, P-2) to earn a new limited license (F-5, F-6) to perform fire sprinkler work by taking a simplified "certificate" course, to be determined and approved by DCP.
While Connecticut does not have a residential fire sprinkler mandate (yet), it is something that fire marshals and others have been advocating for in the legislature and through the state building code adoption process for the last several years. It is likely that such proposals will be back again in future legislative session, and therefore contractors and builders should keep a close eye on this developing field of trade work. In the meantime though, P license holders who are interested in obtaining the new limited F license should contact DCP and watch for information about an approved certificate course.
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