Time for an update on the progress of family and medical leave bills pending in the Connecticut legislature.
Last week – two bills meant to extend paid family and medical leave benefits to Connecticut workers cleared a second legislative committee.
The current federal Family and Medical Leave law allows employees to take a leave of absence but doesn’t offer them any pay while they do so and it applies only to employers with more than 50 employees.
Currently, three competing bills are working their way through the Connecticut legislature that seek to require all employers to permit leaves of absence while also providing employees with a source of income during their leave.
Funding for the paid leave portion of each act would come from a state-run trust fund paid for by a 0.5% tax on all employee weekly paychecks.
Several business groups, as well as some legislators, are concerned about the impact of each proposal on small employers.
The first of the bills is one proposed by Governor Lamont (SB 881), and its paid benefits are the least generous. Under the provisions of the Governor’s proposal, an employee could, for up to 12 weeks, earn 90% of their typical earnings up to $600 per week for anyone making around $15 an hour and 67 percent up to $900 for workers earning more than that.
The two pieces of proposed legislation just voted out of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee offer a wage replacement level of 100 percent, up to a maximum of $1,000. These last two proposals would measurably exceed what any other state in the U.S. has done on this issue. Neither plan gives businesses the option of providing their own family and medical leave benefits.
Each of the latter two bills would authorize $20 million in general obligation bonds for start-up costs for the first two years of the program.
Is passage of a paid leave bill likely?
Most capital watchers believe it is. We will continue to track this matter and report back.
If you’re an employer and have questions about labor and employment law, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys has over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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