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Majority of businesses complying with paid leave deductions

April 13, 2021 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The majority of employers have so far registered with the CT Paid Leave Authority, essentially notifying officials they’ve begun taking state-mandated deductions from their employees’ paychecks to help pay for Connecticut’s new paid family and medical leave program.

Andrea Barton Reeves, the authority’s CEO, said 88,139 of the state’s roughly 100,000 employers had signed up as of noon Tuesday. All Connecticut employers have until the end of April to submit the one half of 1% they were supposed to have been withholding from employee wages since Jan. 1. She expects a last-minute rush of registrations from those remaining employers.

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“The initial due date was March 30th and everyone has a 30-day grace period. In speaking to other states that also have the 30-day grace period, about 99% of the money comes in the day before grace period ends or right at that deadline,” she said. “So we’re expecting to see a significant jump between April 30th and April 31st.”

The state of Connecticut is one of the employers that has needed the extra time to comply with the new law. State Comptroller Kevin Lembo said it was challenging to update the computer payroll system to withhold the money from just non-unionized workers’ checks. Unionized state employees already have access to paid family medical leave benefits through their collective bargaining agreements.

That means, starting with the April 23 paycheck, about 18,000 non-union workers will see “retro-payments” of 1.5% taken out of their checks for four pay periods before returning the originally planned one half of 1% with the June 18 paycheck.

There are about 50,000 total state employees in Connecticut.

Once the collected payroll deductions are transferred over to the medical leave program at the end of April, Barton Reeves said her office will reach out to employers who haven’t complied to see what happened.

“Some are so small, they may not even realize that the program is applicable to them,” she said, noting the law pertains to employers with at least one person.

Under the state’s new family medical leave program, qualified employees can begin receiving benefits on Jan. 1, 2022. They include up to 12 weeks of replacement wages for workers who take extended time off for personal illness, or to care for a family member or loved one.