Connecticut maternity leave laws fall into two categories: two stated based statutes, and federal regulations, which apply across the country to eligible employees.
These laws apply to employees who work for covered employers inside state borders. When examined more closely, this simple declaration reveals many holes.
Many residents commute across borders to work. Once the border is crossed, new rules apply. Pay attention to the rules where you work, not where you reside.
- Paid leave options
- Connecticut Family Leave Act
- Other labor laws and border-crossing commuters
Connecticut Paid Family Leave
Lost income big problem for families after the birth of a child. The problem worsens when mom needs to stop working prior to delivery, and when her infant is born preterm, or with an illness. There are no federal or Connecticut paid family leave laws. The alternatives that do exist help only a tiny fraction of families.
Apply for a maternity leave loan. Get the funding you need to spend time at home bonding with your baby without immediately returning to work. You will need to repay what you owe with interest.
Paid Sick Leave
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 hours can be used for an employee’s own illness, or to care for a serious health condition of a family member.
An eligible worker may utilize paid vacation days, and/or paid personal days if they require more time away from the job.
Short-term disability insurance is the primary vehicle for Connecticut paid maternity leave. You must purchase the policy prior to conception. Employers can offer a voluntary option that employee pay themselves through payroll deduction. Direct coverage policies do not cover normal childbirth.
Residents commuting to other jurisdictions may have access to a state mandated program. The state does not mandate coverage for private or public workers.
Unemployment Maternity Leave
Connecticut unemployment for maternity leave applies under limited circumstances. Any worker unemployed for “good cause” may be eligible to collect compensation. If you are planning to return to work, you probably cannot collect, as you are not unemployed.
The unemployment law in part defines good cause as “to care for the individual’s spouse, child, or parent with an illness or disability.”
This means that men may be able to collect unemployment if his wife suffers complications of pregnancy and needs care at home. Mom may be able to collect if her baby is born preterm or seriously ill. She cannot collect for her own disability.
Connecticut Family Leave Act
The Connecticut Family Leave Act is the primary state-based maternity leave law. It provides up to 16 weeks of job protection during any 24-month period. The regulation applies to certain categories of workers based upon hours worked, the size of the employer, and employer classifications.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
You may qualify for job-protected rights based upon 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 – husband or wife but not 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 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.
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, 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. Your time away from work may be unpaid. In addition, your expenses may rise sharply to cover the increase in premium costs for your health plan and other coverage. This rather nasty surprise can cripple many couples when it is least affordable.
Compared to Federal Regulation
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal regulation and applies to workers regardless of where they work. The Connecticut counterpart applies to people who work inside its jurisdiction. When an employee and/or employer are subject to both regulations, they run concurrently. Some key differences are summarized in the table below.
|Length||16 weeks in 24 months||12 weeks in 12 months|
|Hours Worked||1,000 service hours in 12 months||1,250 service hours in 12 months|
|Employer Size||75 total employees||50 employees working within
75-mile radius of work site
Military Family Members
The federal regulation confers two distinct rights for military family members. The Connecticut counterpart does not confer the same rights.
Exigency applies when a service member is deployed overseas. Family members have 12-weeks of job protection rights to arrange daycare and attend military ceremonies.
The caregiver rule applies a military service member or veteran is injured or seriously ill. Family members are entitled to 26-weeks of job protection rights.
Other Connecticut Labor Laws
Connecticut labor laws regarding family leave also address more narrow topics and populations. These statutes provide certain rights to select groups of workers.
Family Violence Law
The Connecticut Family Violence Leave Law pertains to employers of three or more employees. Subject employers must allow workers experiencing family violence to take twelve days off from work in a calendar year. Family violence includes assault, threatening, stalking, strangulation, sexual assault, and violation of a court order.
The Connecticut infertility mandate makes bringing home a baby more viable and affordable for many couples trying to conceive.
Private employers with three or more employees must also treat pregnant employees in the same manner as any other disabled worker.
Connecticut state employee maternity leave laws allow for 24 weeks of unpaid job protection during any two-year period. Qualifying conditions include the birth of a child or the serious illness of a spouse or dependent. A serious illness requires hospitalization or continuing care by a doctor.
Commuters across Borders
Residents often commute to out of state jobs. Connecticut maternity leave laws apply only to employees who work inside its jurisdiction. Out-of-state commuters lose these protections, but may pick up alternatives where they work.
- Commuters driving north into Boston are subject to Massachusetts regulations.
- Commuters driving south into NYC find a mixed bag with New York statutes.
- Connecticut Department of Labor
- CT DOL – Federal and CT Family Leave
- CT Paid Sick Leave
- Unemployment Compensation – CT Gen Statutes 31-236-2A
- State workers – CT Dept Admin Services
- Pregnancy discrimination – CT Gen Stat 46a-60
- Image credit: niroworld / 123RF Stock Photo