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Paid family, medical leave program accepting applications

Connecticut’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave Program is now taking applications, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

Lamont announced in a news release benefits are available for qualifying events beginning Jan. 1, 2022, stemming from the program that was enacted through legislation in 2019. Under the law, employees are to gain access to benefits that will allow them time off work to care for their own health, the arrival of a newborn child, or sick family members.

Under the program, employees would be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid time off, as Connecticut becomes just the eighth state to enact such a program.

“This is a milestone in Connecticut as we begin to accept benefit applications for one of the strongest paid family and medical leave programs in the nation,” Lamont said in the release. “Supporting the workers of our state will strengthen our economic footing and make Connecticut a stronger place to live, work, and do business. With the launch of this program, workers who need to take time off for a new baby or to recover from an illness are not punished financially, and businesses do not risk losing good workers during those emergencies. This is long overdue, and I am proud that we’re enacting a program that will be a benefit to both workers and businesses.”

The program is funded, according to the governor’s office, by worker payroll deductions. A withholding rate of 0.5% of the Social Security wage base is deducted from wages.

Under the law, qualifying reasons for submitting an application to the program include medical leave for a serious health condition, including pregnancy or serving as a bone marrow or organ donor, or being a caregiver to a family member with a serious health condition.

Other qualifiers include bonding leave for the birth of a newborn child, adoption, or foster care, or to address issues from family violence. Also included is exigency leave for a parent, child, or spouse leaving on a military deployment, and military caregiver leave for an injured family member during active duty.

Reimbursement to employees on leave is determined by earnings and is capped at 60 times the state’s minimum wage. However, the amount can’t exceed an employee’s normal weekly earnings.

State Representative Robyn Porter, D-Hamden, New Haven, co-chair of the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, said the “paid leave is good for families and businesses.”

According to the release, the program is run through the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority, and applications are available at ctpaidleave.org.

This article was originally posted on Paid family, medical leave program accepting applications

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