How to Write Connecticut PFML for Small Businesses

When the state of Connecticut introduced its Paid Family and Medical Leave act, it opened the door for business owners of any size to privatize their PFML coverage for cost savings. Connecticut business owners can save even more money by bundling Connecticut PFML benefits with ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D coverage.

Whether you’re writing Connecticut PFML for larger businesses or smaller companies ranging from 1 to 24 lives, The DBL Center is here to help.

Benefits go into effect January 1, 2022, but employers are considering their options for coverage through the state or a private plan, right now. The state of Connecticut has already started allowing employers to withhold payments for premiums. Businesses who wish to transfer to a private plan, effective July 1, 2021, have until June 30 to hold a vote and write a private policy.

DBL Center brokers can make it easy for their clients to write PFML in Connecticut by walking them through these three simple steps.

Step One: Prepare Employees to Vote on a Private Plan

Unlike New York or New Jersey – who waived the signature requirement to privatize NJ Temporary Disability Insurance benefits – the state of Connecticut requires employees to vote on and approve a private plan.

Employers are responsible for complying with voting requirements and procedures. The DBL Center has been working with our network of carriers to simplify the process of privatizing PFML in Connecticut.

Step Two: Create a Plain Language Guide for Connecticut PFML

At least two weeks prior to the vote, Connecticut employers must provide all employees with a written description of the proposed private plan in “plain language.” The “plain language guide” should be reasonably capable of being understood by the document’s recipients. The plan can include details about additional benefits, examples of acceptable claims or payouts based on employee pay, and a list of the types of health care providers accepted by the plan.

Any language or details about the plan must be:

  • Accurate
  • Complete
  • Non-coercive

The DBL Center offers a free, downloadable “Plain Language Template” that Connecticut employers, HR departments, and benefits managers can modify and share in advance of the vote.

The Plain Language Guide first explains that the Plan is being offered as an alternative to the Connecticut Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program and gives all employees the same rights, protections and benefits as the state plan.

The Plain Language Guide describes:

  • Who is covered by the private plan
  • Benefits provided
  • “Qualifying reasons” to receive income replacement benefits under the plan
  • Duration and timing of benefits
  • Employee and employer contributions to the plan
  • Application process
  • Health care providers covered under the plan
  • Conditions covered by the plan
  • Rights regarding denial of benefits
  • Employer contact information for employees who have questions about the plan

Access the Plain Language Guide Template here.

Step Three: Vote and File the Proper Documents with the State

No sooner than two weeks after the employer distributes the Plain Language Guide, employees can vote on the plan. Employers can use an easy online survey tool or a simple, one-question, handwritten ballot that asks if an employee approves of the private plan.

Once the vote takes place, if the proposed private plan is approved by a 50% + 1 majority of all employees (not just those who voted), the employer must file an Insurance Declarations document with the state.

The DBL Center was one of the first in the industry to report on Connecticut PFML laws. We are here to help Connecticut insurance brokers tap into this lucrative recurring revenue stream as Connecticut employees reap the benefits of a generous paid family and medical leave policy.

 

 


Paid Family Leave in Connecticut: DBL Center Opens New England Office

In the past several years, Paid Family Medical Leave legislation has been sweeping across the Northeast. The DBL Center has been at the forefront of guiding brokers to make the most of this new revenue stream, which can be bundled with ancillary benefits to provide business owners with cost savings while brokers enjoy increased commissions.

As we increase our services in Connecticut and Massachusetts, especially, we’ve been expanding our base into New England with a physical presence in Connecticut. This allows us to service our New England brokers better with a local presence.

Brokers in Connecticut and Massachusetts have turned to The DBL Center in the past year to navigate Paid Family and Medical Leave in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We’ve been helping brokers manage PFL in NY since 2017, so we’re familiar with the transition. Most importantly, we can help brokers use statutory coverage as a springboard to sell highly profitable group ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and group life / AD&D.

Statutory Insurance Experts in New York, New Jersey, and New England

However, as Connecticut and Massachusetts solidify their Paid Family and Medical leave legislation, there are bound to be nuances in the laws that make them different from New York. Already, Connecticut has different paperwork to fill out to privatize PFML in CT. And the definition of a “family member” that someone can take leave to care for hasn’t been fully defined, but it may be less restrictive than New York’s laws.

Learn more about Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave here in our resource center.

Having local insurance experts in New England that can focus exclusively on our New England brokers will allow The DBL Center to provide the same level of expert, personalized service across Massachusetts and Connecticut as we have been doing for 45+ years in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

DBL Center Hires New Group Sales Rep to Support Paid Family Leave in Connecticut and New England

As we focus on customer service and PFML in Connecticut and Massachusetts, we’ve brought on an industry expert with an office in Trumbull, Connecticut. Brian Dewey, the newest DBL Center Group Sales Representative, comes to us from major carriers Sun Life and Ameritas and has been a staple in Connecticut insurance for nearly a decade.

A Massachusetts native and Stonehill graduate with degrees in Economics and Finance, Dewey specializes in group ancillary benefits and will stay on top of the ever-evolving statutory benefits legislation in Connecticut, where he currently resides, and in his home state of Massachusetts.

The DBL Center: On the Cutting Edge of Statutory Benefits and Technology

With our extensive knowledge of Paid Family and Medical Leave coverage, The DBL Center is here to support New England brokers through the confusion of the first year of this new benefit and beyond. Brokers who take advantage of our white-glove, personalized service also gain access to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, helping you track renewals, cancellations, and commissions easily from any internet-enabled device.

Reach out to The DBL Center and Brian Dewey to learn more about how to help your customers save money by privatizing PFML in Connecticut today.

 

 


As Connecticut Explores CT Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML), Brokers Should Start Reaching Out

Following in the steps of New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut will become the third New England state to offer Paid Family Medical Leave (CT PFML). Like the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave program, CT Paid Family Medical Leave will cover both short-term medical leave for employees and family leave to care for specific family members, under one policy. The leave also covers:

  • Victims of family violence
  • Family bonding with infants, newly adopted or new foster children within the first year
  • Exigency
  • Donor leave

What Is CT Paid Family Medical Leave?

Deductions for CT Paid Family Leave begin January 1, 2021, but claimants can’t file for the benefit until January 22, 2022.  Business owners can register to write coverage through the State Fund as of November 1, 2020.

The DBL Center is staying in touch with our carriers in the market, as well as with the CT State Insurance Fund, to determine when and how employers can write a private plan. The DBL Center is working closely with our network of top-rated, preferred carriers to determine who has filed to write in this market. We will keep our brokers up to date, as early education is sure to be a key to success in showing Connecticut business owners the benefits of privatized CT PFML.

To qualify for the benefit, employees must have been employed within the last 12 weeks and earned at least $2,325 in at least one quarter from the first four of the past five most recently completed quarters.

For instance, if an employee earned $2,400 in the most recently ended quarter, but only $2,000 in the four prior to that, they would not qualify. But if they earned $2,400 three quarters ago, and then their wages dropped to $2,000 for the past two quarters, they would qualify.

Former employees who met the earnings and have been employed within the prior 12 weeks are also eligible.

Additionally, self-employed individuals and sole proprietors can opt into CT Paid Family Medical Leave coverage, as can Connecticut residents who are employed in a different state.

What Employers Need to Know About CT Paid Family Medical Leave

All employers with one or more employees are covered under the PFML law. The law also provides employers with the tools and resources to comply with the applicable laws and promote a happy, healthy, and positive workplace.

Employers in the State of Connecticut play a crucial role in helping workers access to paid time off to meet their various personal and family health needs under the CT Paid Family Medical Leave law. They have to:

  • Make Payroll Deductions – Beginning January 1, 2021, the funding to support the program will come in the form of employee payroll deductions. The employers have to make payroll deductions that are capped at 0.5%. Because contributions are only based on earnings up to the social security cap, the calculation might require estimations in some cases.
  • Submit Employee Contribution – Employers are responsible for withholding as well as submitting the payroll deductions for each worker quarterly. These deductions are submitted to the CT Paid Leave Authority. Failure to make appropriate contributions can lead to penalties.
  • Communicate with the Authorities and Employees to Discuss Leave Requests – Employees need to apply for time away from work to their employers. Also, they need to apply to the CT Paid Leave Authority for paid leave benefits to receive income replacement benefits while they are on leave. In some situations, the employee, the employer and the Paid Leave Authority might need to communicate with each other in order to establish the reason for the leave or to verify the duration and frequency of the leave.

How You Can Help Connecticut Business Owners Choose a Private Plan

As in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, who all offer paid family and/or medical leave benefits, employers can say no to the state plan and opt into privatized CT Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits, instead.

However, current legislation will require employee opt-in and private carrier approval via a vote. New Jersey recently waived the 50%+1 signature requirement to privatize TDB coverage. But brokers hoping to move into the CT PFML market in Connecticut are likely to face challenges getting employee buy-in to privatize benefits.

The good news?

Time is on the side of Connecticut brokers, with the legislation set to go into effect January 1, 2022. Now is the time to begin showing Connecticut business owners the benefits of a private plan. We have New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey as examples of the advantages of privatizing paid leave.

These advantages, in general, include:

  • Better, one-on-one service with a broker who truly cares about Connecticut business owners
  • A choice of top-rated carriers
  • Benefits equal to or better than those offered by the state, for the same price or lower than the state offers

In addition to getting employees to vote to privatize CT Paid Family Medical Leave, employees must also vote on the specific carrier in order to satisfy the CT statutory requirement.

Now’s the time to begin educating Connecticut business owners and show them the vast choices of carriers and plans they have when they work with DBL Center brokers. It’s time to show them how they can save by bundling ancillary benefits like dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D. And to show them how white-glove service makes a difference, especially when employers and HR directors are struggling to navigate a whole new world of employee benefits with CT Paid Family Medical Leave.