PFML in Connecticut: How to Set Up a Private Plan

December 21, 2020
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Setting up a private Paid Family and Medical Leave plan in Connecticut involves a number of steps. We’ve got the information, so keep reading for dates and details.

Registration Window

First step? No matter the type of plan they choose, employers with employees in the state must register with Connecticut’s Paid Leave Authority after Nov. 23, 2020 and before Dec. 31, 2020.

When employers wanting a private plan fill out the online registration form, they can show they’re seeking an exemption from the state plan. Watch this video from the Paid Leave Authority to learn more about the registration and exemption process.

Applying for a Private Plan*

Employers can apply for a private plan once they’ve registered their business. The private plan application process is outlined on page 5 of the Paid Leave Authority’s policy and procedures document.

The Interim Period Advantage

Right now, Connecticut is in an interim period for private plans. This time extends for 60 days after the date the state issues final guidance on the content of acceptable private plans. That means employers interested in private plans can begin the private plan exemption process now, rather than satisfying their compliance obligations by enrolling employees in the state plan.

During this interim period, the state is accepting Declarations of Self-Insurance in place of fully developed private plan documents. Requirements for a Declaration of Self-Insurance start on page 8 of Connecticut Paid Leave Authority’s policy and procedures document.

Employees Must Vote on a Private Plan

Before employers submit a Private Plan Exemption Application to the Paid Leave Authority, they must:

  1. Hold a vote, letting their employees decide whether they want a private plan
  2. Receive approval through a majority vote by the employees for that private plan

What makes up a majority?

A majority is: at least 50% + 1 of the total number of employees who work in Connecticut voting in favor the plan.

A majority is not: at least 50% + 1 of the number of employees who take part in the vote.

Employers must ensure voting is anonymous and independently verifiable after the election. The Paid Leave Authority strongly recommends electronic, online tools for voting. Whatever method they use, employers should make sure they can show that all employees had access to the voting tool.

There’s only one question employers may use during the voting process:

“Do you approve the company’s private plan to provide benefits required by the CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act? Yes or No.”

Learn more about voting rules on page 2 of the Paid Leave Authority’s policy and procedures document.

Notifying Employees About the Vote

At least two weeks before the vote, employers should provide Connecticut employees with copies of the proposed Declaration of Self-Insurance, as well as a plain language guide. This guide describes the plan and includes the information contained in the Plain Language Template. For the Declaration and the Template, see pages 8 and 31 of the Paid Leave Authority’s policy and procedures document.

Employers need to distribute voting documents and information in a way that aligns with their usual method for delivering other legally required work-related postings.

Bonding for Self-Funded Private Plans

How can employers get a self-insured plan approved? They must furnish a bond running to the Connecticut Paid Leave Trust Fund:

  • With a surety company authorized to transact business in the state
  • As surety in an amount equal to the estimated total yearly contributions that the employees would otherwise owe to the Paid Leave Trust Fund

The Paid Leave Authority accepts surety bonds issued by surety companies with a rating of A or better from AM Best.

Employee Poster and Payroll Flyers

Employers can access general employee poster and payroll flyers on the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority website. Beginning July 1, 2022, employers will be required to provide written notice about the state’s PFML program to each employee at hiring and each year afterward.

Connecticut Employee Contributions

Employers have to begin employee payroll deductions in January. Deductions start with the first check in January even if the pay bridges from 2020. Payroll deductions should be held separately from other business funds, likely in trust.

If an employer plans to take part in the state plan, the contributions will go to the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority at the end of the first quarter of 2021. If the state has an approved private plan exemption by the end of the first quarter of 2021, the contributions can go toward the cost of the private plan.

Compare Connecticut With Other States

Visit our interactive U.S. map to see how on Connecticut’s PFML programs and legislation line up with those of other states. And sign up to receive email alerts about newly posted content.

 

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* Please note: At this point The Standard is committing only to managing self-funded plans. We’re waiting for further guidance from the state before deciding whether to create an option for a full insurance private plan in Connecticut.

 

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