OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES.
This bill adds an enforcement provision to the family and medical leave (FML) benefits provided to permanent state employees by the State Personnel Act. It allows them to file a complaint with the labor commissioner alleging they were denied their FML benefits or were discharged or discriminated against for (1) requesting or using their FML benefits, (2) filing a complaint or initiating a proceeding to enforce their FML rights, or (3) providing information or testifying in connection with an inquiry or proceeding related to FML rights.
The bill requires the commissioner to hold a hearing on such a complaint and issue a written decision to each party. It allows him to award all appropriate relief, including rehiring or reinstatement, payment of back wages, and reestablishment of employee benefits.
The bill also allows parties to appeal the commissioner's decision to the Superior Court in accordance with the laws governing claims against the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2011
Family and Medical Leave Acts
Three different laws provide family and medical benefits in Connecticut: (1) the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which applies to businesses with 50 or more employees, including state and municipal employees; (2) the state FMLA, which applies to private-sector employers with more than 75 employees; and (3) the State Personnel Act, which applies to permanent state employees.
Federal FMLA law allows employees to enforce their rights through either federal court or the U. S. Department of Labor. State FMLA regulations allow employees to enforce their rights through the state Labor Department. However, the lack of an enforcement provision in the State Personnel Act has led to involvement by the courts (see Siuzdak v. Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center, Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, Docket No. CV 05 4013170, October 13, 2009, 48 Conn. L. Rptr. 680, and Kenney v. Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, Docket No. CV 02 0813589, October 24, 2007, 44 Conn. L. Rptr. 356).
Labor and Public Employees Committee