Paid Leave Benefits Topped $293M in 2022-2023
The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority approved $293.5 million in family and medical leave benefits to 55,111 workers in the 12 months ending May 31, 2023.
Those workers took an average 6.82 weeks leave during that period and were paid an average weekly benefit of $729 according to the authority’s latest annual report.
The authority approved 63% of the 90,393 applications it received and denied 24,469 claims (27%). An additional 5,253 claims (6%) are pending while 3,479 (4%) were withdrawn.
Forty-five percent of all approved claims were for a worker’s own illness or injury, 27% for bonding with a child following birth, 19% for pregnancy or childbirth, and 9% to care for a family member.
Other approved claims were for bonding with a child following adoption or foster care placement, family violence leave, organ or bone marrow donations, and military family leave.
Nine in 10 applications were for continuous leave, with intermittent leave accounting for 7% of claims and reduced schedule for 1%.
The authority says 64% of applicants identified as female and 34% as male, while 2% did not specify or identified as nonbinary.
The report notes the claims process required separate applications for pregnancy or childbirth and bonding leave and was “a partial reason for the high number of claim applications filed by women as compared to men.”
“As of March 1, 2023, such situations are combined within a single application,” the report says. “In the future, we anticipate the disparity between applications filed by women as compared to men may not be as striking.
“When analyzed according to specific leave reason, women continue to file more applications than men or nearly all leave reasons.
“One trend that we continued to see this year … is that the number of applications filed for bonding leave is split nearly equally between men and women.”
Seventy-nine percent of denied applications were rejected because the applicant did not submit required documentation.
Other reasons for claims denial included:
- Worker did not meet minimum earning requirement (7%)
- Authority excluded employer/employee (4%)
- Information received did not meet the requirements for the request (3%)
- Receiving other income/benefits (2%)
- Benefit entitlement exhausted (2%)
- Non-qualified event (2%)
- Serious health condition not certified by healthcare provider (1%)
- Identity could not be verified (1%)
More than half (12,907) of those denied applicants filed for reconsideration, with 80% (10,632) of initial denials overturned by the authority and the claims approved.
Connecticut’s paid leave law allows applicants who did not file for reconsideration or saw their reconsideration bid denied to appeal to the state Department of Labor.
Of 582 appeals heard by the labor department, just 15 (3%) were sustained or sustained in part, with a further 79 (14%) still pending.
The report also emphasized the authority’s efforts to increase employer registration and launch “a robust fund recovery campaign to identify and reach employers who were not up to date on all contributions.”
“The authority engaged in a multi-disciplinary, multi-phase project to better identify and recover past due contributions from employers,” the report noted.
“This project has required the dedication of a significant portion of our IT resources to procure and implement a software solution that will interface with our existing contribution platform.”
Private sector employers are required to remit quarterly the 0.5% tax assessed on employees, with the authority reporting it recovered $290,000 in past-due contributions during the reporting period.
In addition, 8,000 more employers registered with the program over the past 12 months, bringing the total number of businesses to almost 145,000.
Since it first began paying benefits in January 2022, the authority has approved over $375 million in benefits for 65,935 Connecticut workers.
Workers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a number of qualifying reasons, including a serious health condition of an employee or their family member.
Program benefits are capped at 60 times the state’s hourly minimum wage—now $15 as of June 1, 2023—or $900 a week.
Businesses can use a private sector plan—now subject to audit— to comply with the state’s paid leave mandate, with 708 private plans covering more than 35,000 employees now approved by the authority.
Private sector plans paid $5.1 million in benefits from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023, with 87% of claims approved and 11% denied.
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