The Connecticut General Assembly has proposed legislation that would offer generous paid family and medical leave benefits to employees via a state family and medical leave insurance program. The proposed program, which would be funded by a 0.5 percent payroll tax, would pay 100 percent of an employee's wages in an amount up to $1,000 per week for 12 to 14 weeks. The program would be mandatory for all private employers in Connecticut as well as for public employers whose workers are not represented by a union (unless participation in the plan is a term of the relevant collective bargaining agreements). Although the legislation is supported by Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat; the Democrat-controlled state Senate; and a Democratic majority in the Statehouse, there is a concern that small businesses will struggle with the costs of implementing the new plan.

If the legislation is passed as proposed, Connecticut would offer greater family and medical leave benefits than its neighboring states do. New York's paid leave insurance plan currently offers 10 weeks of paid leave at 55 percent of the state's average weekly wage and, by 2021, will offer 12 weeks of paid leave at 67 percent of the state's average weekly wage. Rhode Island's paid leave insurance plan offers 60 percent wage replacement for four weeks of leave, at a maximum of $795 per week. Massachusetts' paid family and medical leave plan offers employees up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave per year at a maximum benefit of $850 per week. Although employees will begin paying a payroll tax July 1 to support the plan, employees will not start receiving benefits until 2021.

The legislation has not yet been scheduled for a vote. We will continue to monitor this legislation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.