Connecticut FMLA and Federal FMLA: Differences and Similarities for HR
Overview of Connecticut’s FMLA Laws
Connecticut is one of 12 states that provide protected leave for family care, bonding, or medical purposes. In addition, the federal Family Medical Leave Act also provides protected leave for family or personal medical purposes.
Although in many cases, the Connecticut FMLA leave may run concurrently with Federal FMLA, there are other cases in which the each protected leave would run independently from the other and employers should be track both leaves separately. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of FMLA for Connecticut employers and to outline the most common situations where employees would be entitled to both protected leaves solely.
Connecticut FMLA leave provides up to 16 weeks of protected leave in a 24 month period. The state’s FMLA law was written to closely mirror federal FMLA law and was updated again in 2016 to mirror more closely federal FMLA.
Keeping track of protected leave, managing sick leave, employee benefits, and tracking time can consume company resources. That is only one of the reason why thousands of companies choose SwipeClock software to minimize cost, increase effectiveness, and avoid costly regulatory fines and penalties.
Qualifying for Connecticut FMLA
Like Federal FMLA, Connecticut’s FMLA (CFMLA) covers employees of large employers. Any employer who has at least 75 employees in the State of Connecticut is covered under the act. This is slightly different from Federal FMLA, which requires 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. In addition the 16 weeks provide every 24 months varies from the 12 weeks every 12 months under FMLA.
In order for employees to qualify for CFMLA, they must have worked for their employer at least 12 months. Like Federal FMLA, the 12 months of employment does not have to be consecutive. In addition they must have worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12 months. This is less than the federal requirement of 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months.
Qualified Leave Entitlement
Employees who take Connecticut’s FMLA can take leave for one of five reasons.
First, they can take leave for the birth or adoption of a child for bonding purposes.
Second, they can take leave to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. Third, employees can take leave to care for their own serious health condition.
Fourth, employees can take leave to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor.
Lastly, leave can be taken for family military leave as allowed in the Federal FMLA law. If a spouse, child or parent is called into active military duty or is injured during active duty, the employee is entitled to full leave benefits under both FMLA and CFMLA.
This is a recent update to Connecticut’s law in 2016 and it allows CFMLA to run concurrently with FMLA during family military leave purposes.
- To bond with a child either through birth, adoption or foster care placement
- To care for a family member who has been seriously ill
- To care for oneself who is seriously ill.
- To provide service as an organ or bone marrow donor (not Federal FMLA allowed)
- For Family military leave
Serious health condition mirrors the FMLA definition and requires that the seriously ill be under continuous care of a health care provider or require inpatient care.
Family Relationships allowed under Connecticut FMLA law.
Connecticut’s Family Medical Leave Act very closely mirrors FMLA, but does allow one additional family relationship that employees can take leave to care for when seriously ill. Leave can be taken for the employee’s parent, child, spouse, or parent-in-law
- Parent-in-law (not FMLA allowed)
Differences between CFMLA and Federal FMLA
There are several situations in which employees would not be able to use both the Federal FMLA and the Connecticut FMLA leave simultaneously.
First, employees who take leave under Connecticut’s FMLA because they are an organ or bone marrow donor would not be able to use federal FMLA leave concurrently.
Secondly, Connecticut employees are able to use the State’s FMLA to care for a parent-in-law, but federal FMLA doesn’t allow for use with parents-in-law. Therefore, an employee who uses CFMLA to care for a parent-in-law would still have the full 12 weeks available through FMLA to care for themselves or for another family member.
One difference between CFMLA and FMLA is in the employee’s protected status upon returning to work. Both acts require that the employee be reinstated to the same or similar job upon returning to work. However FMLA does not require restoration if the employee is unable to perform their essential job junctions. CFMLA require that if the employee is unable to perform essential job provisions that they be allowed to transfer to a work suitable for their physical condition if such work is available.
Another difference is that while FMLA requires that group insurance be continued for the employee on leave under the same conditions as during work, CFMLA does not have this requirements. Therefore, if an employee is taking leave and it doesn’t count concurrently for FMLA leave, the employee would be responsible for the full amount of premiums in order to continue benefits.
Notification, Certification and Confidentiality
Connecticut’s Family Leave requires employees to give a 30 day notice before leave is taken. If notice cannot be given, the employee should notify the employer as soon as possible. The employee must also try to schedule leave is a way that will be the least disruptive to their employers work operations.
Employers are also allowed to require a certification from a health care provider of the serious health condition. Certifications can include the start date of the health condition, the probable duration of the condition, the expected treatment dates, and whether or not the leave is necessary for the employee to care for their family member or if the employee is able to perform basic job duties.
Just like federal FMLA, CFMLA allows employers to require a second or third opinion at the employer’s expense and to require recertifications.
The information obtained about the serious health conditions must be kept confidential.
Let SwipeClock Help
Businesses who have employees in Connecticut, as well as Vermont, New York, Tennessee, New Jersey, and other states may have to comply with multiple laws defining FMLA leave, Sick leave accrual, secure scheduling and other employment benefits laws.
SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated June 22, 2017
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