Federal FMLA

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. It applies to private-sector employers who have 50 or more employees in 20 or more work weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Public agencies, including local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as public and private elementary and secondary schools, are also covered by the federal FMLA, regardless of the number of employees they employ.

In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee: (1) must have worked at least 12 months (need not be consecutive) for the employer; (2) must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the date of commencement of FMLA leave; and (3) must work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles. 

Under the federal FMLA, a covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the birth or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; 
  • the employee’s own serious health condition; or
  • any qualifying exigency arising from the foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent.

A covered employer must also grant an eligible employee up to 26 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. The employee must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the covered service member.

Eligible spouses who work for the same employer are limited to a combined total of 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for the following FMLA-qualifying reasons: 

  • birth and bonding time with a newborn child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; and
  • the care of a parent with a serious health condition. 

Eligible spouses who work for the same employer are also limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

Federal Laws, Regulations & Guidance

Forms

Connecticut FMLA

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Connecticut’s FMLA statute underwent significant changes.

Connecticut now has two distinct laws that provide for family and medical leave: (1) unpaid, job-protected leave provided by employers to eligible employees; and (2) income replacement benefits provided by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority.

Both laws cover eligible workers who need to take leave from their job to care for a loved one or for their own medical reasons.   

Job-Protected Leave

Connecticut Family and Medical Leave (CTFMLA) applies to employers with one or more employees, including the state of Connecticut.

It does not apply to municipalities, local or regional boards of education, or to private elementary or secondary schools.

This law provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for qualifying family or medical reasons.

Employees are entitled to return to their same or, if not available, an equivalent job at the end of their leave. Employees may also take up to two additional weeks of leave for a serious health condition that occurs during pregnancy, and up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.  

An employee may take CTFMLA leave if they have been employed by the employer for at least three consecutive months.

Although this leave is generally unpaid, an employee’s accrued, paid leave time with the employer, such as vacation, sick leave, personal leave or paid time off, may be applied to the leave if required by the employer or if requested by the employee. An employee may choose to preserve up to two weeks of their accrued, paid leave time.

Leave may be taken for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child and care within the first year after birth;
  • The placement of a child with an employee for adoption or foster care and care for that child within the first year after placement;
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • Because of the employee’s own serious health condition;
  • To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor;
  • To address qualifying exigencies arising from a spouse, son, daughter or parent’s active duty service in the armed forces; or
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin with a serious injury or illness incurred on active duty in the armed forces.
  • family violence (up to 12 days in a calendar year).

An employee who wishes to apply for Connecticut Family and Medical Leave must do so through their employer, who provides the forms.

Paid Leave Benefits

The Connecticut Paid Leave Act provides eligible workers with income replacement benefits. The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority takes applications for the paid leave program, and benefits are funded via employee payroll deductions.

As with the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, this law applies to employers with one or more employees working in Connecticut, including non-profits and private-sector employers with a unionized workforce.

It does not apply to the federal government, the state of Connecticut, municipalities, local or regional boards of education, private schools, railroad workers, or to employees who live in another state and so don’t pay Connecticut income tax.

This law provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of income replacement benefits during a 12-month period for qualifying family or medical reasons.

Employees may be eligible for two additional weeks of income replacement during leave for incapacity during pregnancy. Up to 12 days of the 12 weeks may be used for income replacement during family violence leave.  

Employees are eligible for paid leave when they’ve earned at least $2,325 in the highest earning quarter of the first four of the past five quarters (from one or more employers), and if they are currently employed and working in Connecticut, or were employed and working in Connecticut during the past 12 weeks.  

Eligible applicants may receive benefits for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To receive treatment and/or recover from their own serious health condition, including pregnancy and serving as an organ or bone marrow donor (medical leave);
  • To care for a family member who has a serious health condition (caregiver leave);
  • To bond with a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster child and, in the case of adoption and foster care, to attend to pre-placement activities (bonding leave);
  • To care for a family member injured on active duty in the military (military caregiver leave);
  • To attend to specific issues associated with a parent, spouse or child’s overseas active duty  (qualifying exigency leave); and
  • To attend to specific issues associated with directly experiencing family violence (family violence leave).

Individuals wishing to apply for income replacement benefits must apply through the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority website.

State Laws, Regulations & Guidance

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act (which applies to employers of three or more employees) requires employers to allow a reasonable leave of absence for disability resulting from pregnancy.

Further, an employee disabled by pregnancy cannot be denied any compensation to which she is entitled as a result of the accumulation of disability or leave benefits.

Note that this statute applies to employees who might not otherwise be eligible for FMLA leave, as well as to small employers who are not subject to the FMLA laws.