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Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Representing Norwalk & Darien

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Duff Applauds Governor for Signing Paid Family And Medical Leave Program into Law

HARTFORD, CT - Today, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) applauded Governor Ned Lamont for signing legislation creating a statewide paid family and medical leave program. Connecticut residents will soon gain access to benefits allowing them to take time off work to care for a newborn child or a sick family member under the new law.

“Today, we are sending a message that Connecticut is a great place to live and raise a family,” said Senator Duff. “A paid family and medical leave program will keep Connecticut competitive with our neighboring states and show that we support workers and their families. I want to thank Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and Majority Leader Matt Ritter for bringing this bill to a vote in the House, House Chairwoman Robyn Porter and Senate Chairwoman Julie Kushner of the Labor and Public Employees Committee for their tireless work on this cause, and to Governor Ned Lamont for signing this bill into law.”

Paid family and medical leave in Connecticut comes as the state, and several others across the United States, work to match what is otherwise a global custom. The United States is the only nation of the 41 in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union that does not provide any paid leave for new parents, and the United Nations’ International Labor Organization indicates 183 of 185 countries surveyed provide paid maternity leave; only the United States and Papau New Guinea do not.

Additionally, the legislation aims to support a changing family and household dynamic in the United States. In the last 45 years, the number of households with both parents working full time increased by 15 percent, and the number of two-parent households where the mother is not employed fell by 20 percent in that time. Connecticut joins Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, Washington and the District of Columbia in implementing these new programs.

Sustainable Funding In Connecticut, personal disability leave and family care leave will be funded solely by employees. The program will be funded by a withholding rate of 0.5 percent, or one-half of one percent, on earnings up to the Social Security wage base. This is similar to other programs in other states. California funds its program with a 1 percent withholding rate on workers’ first $118,371 in wages; Rhode Island funds its with the first 1.1 percent of a worker’s first $71,000 in wages.

Who Benefits Under the paid family and medical leave program, employees in the state will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, or to care for their own serious health condition. Additionally, employees can claim leave if they meet qualifying standards when an employee is on active duty, or if they are to serve as organ or bone marrow donors. Connecticut would be the first state to allow paid leave for such a donation.

Under the legislation, “family member” refers to a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or an individual related by blood. It also refers to someone whose “close association to an employee is equivalent of a family relationship.”

Employee Coverage Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the weekly benefit Connecticut employees can receive is 95 percent of weekly minimum wage earnings. The maximum benefit cannot exceed 60 times the minimum wage, meaning the maximum benefit will be $780 in 2022 and it will increase with the minimum wage until it reaches $900 in 2023 when the minimum wage increases to $15.

These benefits are similar to other states, which implemented maximum benefits ranging from $850 to $1,252.

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