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Lamont signs family medical leave legislation into law

Connecticut is on track to have a paid family medical leave system in place by 2022.

Advocates and state lawmakers cheered as Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation Tuesday that provides most workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member, a new child or their own serious health condition.

The program, which begins January 1, 2022, will also cover medical leave needed for organ or bone marrow donations or a qualifying event arising from a family member on active duty.

The weekly benefit will be capped at 60 times the minimum wage or $780 on a $13 minimum wage. It will be $900 when Connecticut's $15-an-hour minimum wage takes effect in 2023.

The program will be funded with a 0.5% payroll tax.

Senator Julie Kushner, co-chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, said, “I’ve represented working families for more than forty years – I truly understand what a difference this program will make in so many lives. Working families will be able to pay their rent while on bonding leave with a newborn child.  A worker won’t have to fear losing her job, just because she suffered a serious injury. If your is parent ill and needs your help, you can be there without worrying about how to pay your bills. We have done a great thing in passing one of the very best paid family and medical leave programs in the country. It will be good for working families. It will provide peace of mind to those caring for sick loved ones. And, it will strengthen our state’s economy, providing income at a time when people need it most. I couldn’t be prouder to have worked to pass this vital piece of legislation.”

Connecticut employees will be able to use paid family and medical leave for five reasons:
1.      Care for a new child (birth, adoption, foster)
2.      Care for family member with serious health condition
3.      Care for own serious health condition
4.      Qualifying exigency arising out of family member being on active duty
5.      To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor

New York, Washington state, and Massachusetts allow reasons one through four. Connecticut will be the only state in the country to allow for paid leave due to donating bone marrow or an organ.

Definition of Family Member:
·         Child
·         Parent
·         Spouse
·         Domestic partner
·         Grandparent
·         Grandchild
·         Individual related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of those family relationships

In Connecticut, paid leave will apply to private sector employers with one or more employees. Self-employed employees and sole-proprietors have the ability to opt-in to the program. In addition, non-union state and local government employees are covered. Unionized public workers will have the ability to collectively bargain and become covered.

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