Paid Leave Authority Pays Out $249M in Benefits
The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority distributed $249 million in benefits to about 44,000 unique employees in its first year.
The authority began accepting applications on Dec. 1, 2021, with payments beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
Of the 97,450 total claims last year, the agency approved 56,500 and denied 28,880, according to a Jan. 12, 2023 release.
While January 2021 saw the most claims, the number of claims in each successive month ranged between 6,800 and 8,150.
Nearly half of those who made claims did so for their own serious health condition.
Sixteen percent of people filed for pregnancy, 22% for bonding, and 12% for caring for a family member.
Of the benefits paid for leaves that were a week or longer, the agency paid 51% of claimants their maximum weekly benefit.
As of Nov. 20, 2022, the agency reported a balance of nearly $459 million, meeting its target for the year.
The program’s benefits and administrative funding comes from a 0.5% payroll tax assessed on Connecticut private sector employees.
The General Assembly narrowly approved the legislation, which applies to about 1.5 million employees in 2019. Most public sector workers are exempt from the mandate.
The agency is also planning to impose penalties and interest on unpaid contributions beginning May 1, 2023.
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, as well as a birth or adoption, among other life events.
Program benefits are capped at 60 times the state’s hourly minimum wage—now $14 as of July 1, 2022—or $840 a week.
The maximum weekly benefit will increase to $900 when the minimum wage hits $15 on June 1, 2023.
Businesses can use a private sector plan to comply with the state’s paid leave mandate.
The authority has approved applications from 658 employers wanting to use a private sector plan.
Each private sector plan is approved for three years, before it has to be renewed.
In the coming year, the agency plans to expand its website, improve employer communications, and improve pregnancy and bonding integration.
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