Posted on October 11, 2023
HARTFORD—House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora on Wednesday urged the Board of Directors for the CT Paid Family Leave Authority to reduce workers’ mandatory contribution rate so financially-strapped residents can keep more money in their paychecks.
The board will hold its monthly meeting Thursday, and at that time, Candelora said, members should reduce the mandatory per-paycheck contribution rate to .0475 percent from .05 percent.
“This program built on a payroll tax has amassed a surplus on the backs of Connecticut workers who could really use a bit of relief right now given the fact that their cost of living has skyrocketed since its inception,” he said. “The current excess fund balance is approaching $600 million, which would cover more than one and a half years of benefits before the program would need to collect a cent more from workers. Board members can, and should, take this step to help residents at a time when their finances are stretched thin.”
The state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program, funded through mandatory payroll contributions from workers, was approved by the legislature in 2019. The program provides wage replacement for up to 12 weeks for Connecticut residents who take time off for situations such as dealing with their own illness or caring for a family member with a health problem. Workers began mandatory contributions into the fund in January 2021, though the program did not begin issuing benefit payments until January 2022. Since its inception, the program has collected more than $1 billion from the pockets of Connecticut workers. This includes $433 million in FY23, when it paid out $309 million in benefits—netting the authority $125 million.
Board Secretary John Scott, Candelora’s appointment to the Authority’s Board of Directors, said he will submit a motion Thursday to reduce the mandatory payroll deduction.
“As a board member and a Connecticut taxpayer I am very uncomfortable with Connecticut Paid Leave amassing what will very soon be a three quarters of a billion dollars savings account. It’s just too much money being extracted from the Connecticut economy for it to sit in a state bank account instead of our residents’ paychecks,” Scott said. “I stand firm on the fact that we can meet our obligations and do it while taking less money from workers.”
Additionally, both Candelora and Scott explained the Board could, in the future, quickly choose to re-establish the .5 percent contribution rate should there be an unexpected surge in claims.
The CT Paid Family Leave Board of Directors 9 a.m. meeting, to be held virtually, can be viewed here.