Eric Brown: Paid family medical go away act sure to rock the boat

2021 will bring some big changes to employment in Connecticut.

The biggest thing you’ve probably heard of at some point is the start of the Paid Family Vacation Act. Under the new law, all employers in the state, regardless of their size, must contribute to a state fund that will ultimately allow eligible workers to receive up to twelve weeks of paid vacation from 2022.

Starting with the first payroll in 2021, employers must withhold 0.5% of the remuneration of all employees. For every thousand dollars earned, five dollars are sent to the state to build up the fund. A nickel here, a dime there, and soon we’ll be talking about real money.

The good news is that the funds are being administered by the Connecticut Paid Family Leave Authority. What could possibly go wrong? A government agency that manages the money you’ve worked for. Sounds perfect.

The Law on Paid Leave applies to all employers. Under the current Connecticut FMLA, only employers with 75 or more employees were required to grant eligible workers unpaid leave. That determination is gone now.

Beginning January 1, 2022 (there will be a year of contributions to build the fund before anyone can benefit), employees can take up to twelve weeks of paid vacation annually for a number of reasons. None of them include golf or a trip to the beach. For now, anyway.

According to the law, an employee can take paid leave if they have a serious health condition, care for a family member with a serious health condition, care for a new child, and deal with an emergency due to active military service of a family member. serve as an organ or bone marrow donor or become a victim of domestic violence.

Family members to whom the law now applies include siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, in-laws, and “persons who are related by blood or affinity and whose close connection the employee proves to be on par with those family relationships”.

What does this really mean for employers? First of all, you can count on some employees to take twelve weeks of summer vacation while they do their jobs. Think of all the people your co-workers may have for those who may be suffering from any illness. So prepare yourself.

Congratulations to conscientious employees. You are now making a charitable contribution to a fund so that your freeloading employees can take twelve weeks of paid vacation. Don’t worry, your reward will be at the Pearl Gates. They hope.

Since I’m a democrat and a union attorney, you’d think this was my cup of tea. It’s bitter tea. I can’t see you pulling money out of your pocket to pay for a service that you are unlikely to use and that is most likely to be abused by some discreet section of society. We know who you are. They have been doing this for decades. For some, it’s the American way. It’s just not our American way.

The way to deal with the potentially catastrophic consequences of long-term illness is through insurance. If you want it, you can buy it. If you’d rather take your risk, the choice is yours. When I started working, I started paying for disability insurance. My choice. It wasn’t easy, but I did it for myself. I didn’t need the government to do this for me.

Eric Brown, who writes a weekly column, is an attorney with offices in Connecticut. He can be reached at 888-579-4222 or online at

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