[author: Melissa Burdorf, XpertHR Legal Editor]
Since May 2010, Connecticut courts have held that Connecticut's Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA) applies to all employers doing business in Connecticut with a total of 75 employees. Meaning, if an employer had just one employee in Connecticut but more than 75 employees nationwide, that employer may be covered under the CFMLA. Many multistate employers fell into this bucket.
However, this week, the Connecticut Supreme Court has decided in Velez v. Commissioner of Labor et al., +2012 Conn. LEXIS 338, that only employers with 75 or more employees within Connecticut are covered by the CFMLA.This decision is in line with the logic of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act's (FMLA) requirement that, for employers to be covered under the FMLA they must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
This new decision will significantly restrict the scope of the CFMLA, which should result in a large decrease in the number of employers covered under the CFMLA.
Many multistate employers with small operations in Connecticut will be happy to hear this news, especially since the CFMLA varies significantly from the FMLA. For instance, the CFMLA has different eligibility requirements (e.g. a lower hourly requirement of 1,000 hours vs. the FMLA's 1,250 hours), has a longer length of leave (16 weeks every 24 months vs. FMLA's 12 weeks), does not have a highly compensated employee exemption (like the key employee exemption under the FMLA), has a more stringent certification process and prohibits the consideration of CFMLA leave time in deciding if an employee is eligible for a bonus.
Currently, Senate Bill 184 is pending which would formally amend the CFMLA to make it clear that the 75 or more employee requirement means that only Connecticut employees should be counted.
Employers with operations inside and outside of Connecticut should review their family and medical leave policies and practices to ensure their compliance with this change.
In addition, Connecticut employers with 50 or more employees should be aware that they may still be subject to the FMLA. The FMLA requires employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius to provide their eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave during any 12-month period.
Employee Leaves > FMLA: Connecticut
Employee Leaves > FMLA > FMLA Employer Coverage
HR Strategy, Management and the Law > Multistate Employer