The State of Connecticut maternity leave laws fall into two categories: two stated based laws, and federal rules which apply across the country to eligible employees.
These laws apply to employees who work for covered employers in Connecticut. When examined more closely, this seemingly simple statement reveals many holes.
Many residents commute out-of-state. Once the state line is crossed a new set of rules apply. Pay careful attention to the rules where you work, not where you reside.
- Paid Leave Options
- Short term disability
- Collecting unemployment
- Connecticut FMLA
- Other State Laws
- Out of state commuters
CT Paid Maternity Leave Options
While there are no federal or Connecticut State laws regarding direct paid leave, there are several options that may provide income replacement for families.
Short Term Disability
Short term disability insurance is the primary vehicle for paid maternity leave in CT. Policies must be purchase prior to conception, and offered by employers. Residents commuting out of state may have access to those state mandated programs. Connecticut does not mandate coverage for private or public workers.
CT Paid Sick Leave
The State of Connecticut enacted a new maternity leave law in January 2012, mandating that employers provide service workers with paid sick leave. Up to 2 weeks of accumulated sick leave hours can be used for an employee’s own illness, or to care for a serious health condition of a family member.
Since the CT medical leave act allows for sixteen weeks of leave, you may find that fourteen weeks remain unpaid. An eligible worker may utilize paid vacation days, and/or paid personal days.
Unemployment compensation may be used under limited circumstances. Once mom has recovered from childbirth, she may be eligible for compensation if she lost her job during the interim. Not every worker enjoys job protection benefits during leave. Any worker unemployed for “good cause” may be eligible for benefits. CT unemployment law in part defines good cause as: “to care for the individual’s spouse, child, or parent with an illness or disability”.
CT Family Medical Leave Act
The first State of Connecticut maternity leave law to explore is the CT Family Medical Leave Act. This state-based maternity leave law provides up to 16 weeks of job protected leave during any 24 month period. The regulation applies to certain categories of workers based upon hours worked, size of the employer, and employer classifications.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
You may request this leave for a variety of reasons including:
- Birth of son or daughter
- Placement of an adoptive child
- Care for a family member with a serious medical condition
- Son or Daughter - biological, adoptive, foster, or step child of employee under the age of eighteen, or incapable of self care
- Spouse - defined as husband or wife. The law does not seem to include civil unions
- Parent - biological, foster, adoptive, and step parents are included
- Serious medical condition - requires ongoing treatment by a healthcare provider
- Severe health related condition of the employee
- To act as a bone marrow, organ, or tissue donor
The Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act applies to employer groups of 75 or more, but does not apply to state, municipal, local or regional board of education, private or parochial elementary or secondary school. The number of employees is measured on October 1 of each year.
To qualify for leave under the Connecticut Family Leave Act, the employee must have worked for her employer for at least one year and you must have worked at least 1,000 hours in the last 12 months.
The 24 month period can be measured four ways: consecutive calendar years, any defined period of 24 consecutive months, a period measured beginning on your first day of leave, or a rolling 24 month period.
Health Benefits Continuation
Connecticut FMLA requires that eligible workers be restored to the same position of employment, or a corresponding work role, with equivalent employment benefits. Employment benefits are the programs made available to employees, including group life, health, and disability insurance, sick leave and pensions.
Notice that these “employment benefits” are restored upon returning to work? Restoration implies something was lost while on leave. Your time away from work may be unpaid, plus your expenses may rise sharply to cover the increase in premium costs for your health plan, and other coverage. This is a rather nasty surprise that can cripple many couples when it is least affordable.
Compared to Federal Regulation
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal maternity leave law and applies to workers in every state, whereas this State of Connecticut maternity leave law applies to CT workers only. When an employee and/or employer are subject to both regulations, the leave runs concurrently. Some key differences are summarized in the table below.
Length of Leave
16 weeks in 24 months
12 weeks in 12 months
1,000 service hours in 12 months
1,250 service hours in 12 months
75 total employees
50 employees working within
Other State of CT Laws
The State of Connecticut maternity leave laws address more narrow topics and populations. These laws provide some benefits to certain workers in the state. Pay careful attention to how they work, and who they apply to.
Private employers with three or more employees in the Constitution State must also treat pregnant employees in the same manner as any other disabled worker.
State Government Employees
Permanent state government workers are entitled to 24 weeks of unpaid parental leave in a two year period. The leave can be used for the birth of a child, or the serious illness of a spouse. A serious illness requires hospitalization or continuing care by a doctor.
Out of State Commuters
Residents of the Nutmeg State often commute to out of state jobs. The State of Connecticut maternity leave laws apply only to employees who work in the state. Out of state commuters lose these protections, but may pick up alternatives in the states where they work.
- Commuters driving north into Boston may be protected by maternity leave laws in Massachusetts.
- Commuters driving south into NYC find a mixed bag with New York maternity leave laws.
- Intrepid travelers brave enough to drive even further south enjoy richer maternity leave laws in NJ.