Leaves of Absence/FMLA Articles

Employer's Guide to Connecticut's Paid Sick Leave Law

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             Effective January 1, 2012, Connecticut became the first state to require paid sick leave. Public Act No. 11-52. Employers should make sure their handbooks, and policies, including those covering leaves of absence, paid time off, attendance, and medical documentation procedures, all comply with the new law.

Connecticut First In Nation to Require Paid Sick Leave

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            Effective January 1, 2012, Connecticut will become the first state to require paid sick leave. Under the law, most employers of 50 or more employees within the state must provide their “service workers” at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year. Employers excluded from the Act include manufacturers and nationally charted organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Covered employers must also comply with new informational and anti-retaliation requirements.

FMLA Rights for Military Servicemember Families and Veterans

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            On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Supporting Military Families Act of 2009, which expands the exigency and military caregiver leave provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The changes, which were effective upon the President’s signature, now permit employees to take leaves of up to 12 weeks for qualifying exigencies related to an “active duty” spouse, child or parent being deployed to a foreign country. Such exigencies include short-notice deployment, military events, childcare and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, counseling, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities, and any other service-related activity that the employer and employee agree is a qualifying exigency.

DOL Regulations Clarify Key FMLA Provisions

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            The U.S. Department of Labor issued a set of revised regulations covering the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), which go into effect January 16, 2009, and provide guidance on a number of key areas that employers have struggled with since the law’s enactment in 1993. While some of the major changes are covered below, the new regulations are available at: www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/finalrule.pdf.

Reinstatement Rights of Injured Employees

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            Contrary to popular belief employees injured at work do not have an unqualified right to return to work, no matter how long it takes for recovery. Connecticut law allows an employer to terminate an employee injured on the job under the terms of a neutral leave of absence policy.  While section 31-290a of the Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee because of an on the job injury, this section has been interpreted as allowing the discharge of such an employee under a policy uniformly applied to both occupational and non-occupational absences.  


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