New Regulations for Connecticut's Family and Medical Leave

June 1, 1999 Advisory
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The Connecticut Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued new regulations to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). The new regulations are designed to incorporate existing federal FMLA regulations, with certain language changes to reflect the differences between the two laws. The following table highlights the major differences remaining between Connecticut FMLA regulations and federal FMLA regulations:

1. Issue: Number of employees

  • Federal: An employer is covered if it employs 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
  • Connecticut: An employer is covered if it employs 75 or more employees as of October 1st of each year. An employee whose name appears on the employer's payroll for the week including October 1st is counted. If an employer meets the threshold, it remains covered until the number of employees is determined the following year.

2. Issue: Eligible employees

  • Federal: employees who have worked 1250 hours in the last 12 months
  • Connecticut: employees who have worked 1000 hours in the last 12 months

3. Issue: Under what kinds of circumstances are employers required to grant family or medical leave?

  • Federal: Certain specified circumstances plus the serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential function of her job.
  • Connecticut: Certain specified circumstances plus the serious health condition of the employee. There is no reference to the essential functions of the job.

4. Issue: Amount of leave

  • Federal: 12 weeks in a 12-month period (12-month period to be determined by employer
  • Connecticut: 16 weeks in any 24-month period (24-month period starts with first day of leave taken)

5. Issue: Returning employee's rights

  • Federal: entitled to be returned to the same or an equivalent position.
  • Connecticut: entitled to be returned to original position, or if the original position is unavailable, to an equivalent position.

6. Issue: Obligation to transfer to a suitable position following leave

  • Federal: None
  • Connecticut: must transfer an employee who is unable to perform his or her original job at the expiration of leave to work suitable to the employee's physical condition, if available.

7. Issue: How are employees protected who request leave or otherwise assert FMLA rights?

  • Federal: employer is prohibited from discharging employee
  • Connecticut: employer is prohibited from discharging or causing the discharge of an employee

8. Issue: Who bears the cost of a "fitness for duty" report?

  • Federal: the employee
  • Connecticut:no requirement that employee bear the cost.