WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut workers can now access benefits under the state’s new paid family and medical leave program, which provides wage replacement for those who need to take time away from work to address qualifying health or family concerns, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday.

Overseen by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority, the program started granting benefits to eligible applicants on Jan. 1, 2022.

The program is entirely employee-funded through a payroll deduction of 0.5%, which began on Jan. 1, 2021. State officials said Connecticut is collecting about $400 million a year for the new program. The employee contributions are pooled into the Paid Leave Trust, which pays the paid leave benefit. The authority partnered with Aflac to manage claims and administer benefits.

The amount of income replacement varies based on a worker’s earnings and is capped at 60 times the state minimum wage, or $780/week.

“The program is less than two weeks old, state officials say 400 Connecticut residents have already been approved for paid family and medical leave,” Teresa White, the president of Aflac said.

Qualifying reasons to apply for paid leave benefits include:

  • To care for one’s own serious health condition (including serving as a bone marrow or organ donor, and pregnancy);
  • To care for a family member experiencing a serious health condition;
  • To bond with a new child (biological, adopted, or fostered);
  • To address issues arising from family violence;
  • To care for a military family member injured during federal active duty; or
  • To address issues arising from a parent, spouse, or child’s call to federal active duty.

“I want Connecticut to be the most family-friendly state in the United States of America,” Lamont said. “It’s the right thing to do for that parent, for that mom, for that kid, and to keep this economy going.” 

State officials said 400 Connecticut residents have already been approved for paid family and medical leave program.

To file a claim, workers are encouraged to submit applications online, which is the fastest way to apply, by visiting ctpaidleave.org. Those who do not have access to the internet, or who have questions and would like to speak with an Aflac customer care advocate, can call the program’s toll-free hotline at 877-499-8606. Hours of operation for a live representative are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.