PA 07-245—SB 1447

Judiciary Committee

Planning and Development Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE FOR MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES AND THE APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN STATUTORY PROVISIONS TO CIVIL UNION STATUS

SUMMARY: This act requires political subdivisions to provide employees who (1) are parties to a civil union and (2) have worked for the political subdivision for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours during the past 12 months, with the same Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits that federal law provides to parties to a marriage.

For all employees who have worked for political subdivisions for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours during the past 12 months, the act allows the employees to request leave to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor. The act allows the employer to require, prior to the leave, sufficient written certification from the employee's physician of the proposed donation and the probable duration of the employee's recovery from it.

Political subdivisions include any town, city, borough, school district, fire district, improvement association, and other districts or associations.

The act provides that it cannot be construed to authorize leave in addition to the 12 weeks allowed within a 12-month period under the federal FMLA. Political subdivision employees are covered by the federal FMLA. Federal regulations state that the federal FMLA does not supersede any provision of state law that provides greater rights. The regulations state that if leave is taken for a purpose covered by state law but not federal law, it does not count toward the 12 weeks allowed under the federal FMLA (29 CFR 825. 701). It is unclear how the provisions of this act and federal law will be interpreted. The act requires the labor department to enforce compliance with these provisions.

The act specifies that wherever in the general statutes the term “marital status” is used or defined, civil union status must be included in that use or definition. The act excludes from the requirement four anti-discrimination laws, but it adds civil union status as a protected class under four parallel anti-discrimination laws involving employment, public accommodations, housing, and credit transactions, thus explicitly making discrimination on this basis in these contexts illegal.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007 except the provisions on “marital status” and anti-discrimination laws are effective upon passage.

FMLA

Employees of political subdivisions are covered by the federal FMLA. The act adds benefits for parties to a civil union and organ or bone marrow donation that are not covered by the federal FMLA. Table 1 shows the federal FMLA provisions.

Table 1: Federal FMLA Provisions

 

Federal Law

(as applied to political subdivisions)

Political subdivisions covered

All

Employees eligible

Those who have worked (1) at least 12 months for the employer and (2) at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months

Leave amount

Up to 12 weeks in one year

Types of leave

For birth; adoption or foster care; to provide care for employee's own parent, child, or spouse with serious health condition; or employee's own serious health condition

Serious health condition or illness

Illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition involving incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical-care facility; or continuing treatment by a health care provider

Health benefits during leave

Employee health insurance must be continued under same conditions as prior to leave, including any required employee contribution

Job reinstatement rights

Must be restored to same position or equivalent in all benefits and other terms and conditions of employment

MARITAL STATUS

The term “marital status” is used in the following statutes and thus must be interpreted under the act to include civil unions.

Table 2: Use of the Term “Marital Status” in the General Statutes

Statute

Topic

4a-60

Nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions in contracts of the state and political subdivisions other than municipalities

7-50

Restrictions on content of birth certificates

8-2g

Special exemption from density limits for construction of affordable housing

10-153

Discrimination by local and regional boards of education on account of marital status

10a-167

Scholarships for Vietnam era veterans

16-245r

Discrimination by electric suppliers

16-247r

Discrimination by telephone companies and certified telecommunications providers

17b-27a

John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative

31-57e

Contracts between the state and federally recognized Indian tribes

32-204

Purposes and powers of the lower Fairfield County Conference or Exhibition Authority

38a-358

Declination, cancellation, or nonrenewal of private passenger nonfleet auto insurance policies for certain reasons

42-297

Required disclosures for sweepstakes advertising

45a-438

Inheritance by children born out of wedlock

45a-727

Application and agreement for adoption

46a-70

Guarantee of equal employment in state agencies

46a-71

Discriminatory practices by state agencies

46a-72

Discrimination in job placement by state agencies

46a-73

Discrimination in state licensing and charter procedures

46a-75

Discrimination in educational and vocational programs

46a-76

Discrimination in allocation of state benefits

47-12a

Affidavit of facts relating to title or interest in real estate

52-571d

Action for discrimination by golf country club in membership or access to facilities or services

As noted, the term “marital status” is also used in four anti-discrimination laws regarding employment, public accommodations, housing, and credit transactions (CGS 46a-60, 46a-64, 46a-64c and 46a-66). But the act explicitly adds civil union status to four parallel laws that make it illegal to discriminate in these areas on the basis of sexual orientation (CGS 46a-81c, 46a-81d, 46a-81e, and 46a-81f).

OLR TRACKING: CR: DD: PF: TS