Many employers provide time off for vacation, sick leave, personal days, or paid time off (PTO). In addition to these policies, you may have a legal right to take leave from work for health, family, and caretaking responsibilities. For example, if you are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy or you need time off to care for a family member with a serious health condition, you may have a right to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Connecticut law provides additional leave rights, including the right to time off for illness, military service, jury duty, and more.
This article provides general information on your right to take leave from work in Connecticut. For more information, see our page on employee leave rights.
In addition to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which applies to employers in Connecticut and every other state, Connecticut has its own family and medical leave law, as well as a variety of other leave laws.
Under the federal FMLA, employers must allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for a seriously ill family member (parent, child, or spouse), to recuperate from their own serious health conditions, to bond with a new child, or to handle certain urgent matters relating to a family member’s military service. The FMLA also requires employers to give employees up to 26 weeks off to care for a family member who suffers or exacerbates a serious illness or injury while serving in the military. (For purposes of this part of the law only, employees may take leave to care for a broader range of family members, including siblings, grandparents, and cousins, if they are next of kin to an injured service member.)
The FMLA applies only to employers with at least 50 employees. To take FMLA leave, employees must have worked for the employer for 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking time off. (Find out more at our Taking Family and Medical Leave page.)
Connecticut has its own version of the family and medical leave law. It requires employers with at least 75 employees to give eligible employees up to 16 weeks off in any 24-month period for the following reasons:
In Connecticut, employers with at least 75 employees must allow eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks off in a single 12-month period to care for a family member who is a current member of the armed forces and has suffered a serious illness or injury while on active duty.
Connecticut is one of a few states that requires employers to give paid sick days to employees. In Connecticut, employers with 50 or more employees must provide paid sick leave to workers in the service industry. These employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work. Employees may accrue up to 40 hours off per year, and they may use their time off for their own illnesses or to care for an ailing family member.
Employers with at least three employees must give employees a reasonable period of leave for disability relating to childbirth, pregnancy, and related conditions. Starting on October 1, 2017, pregnant employees might also be entitled to time off work as a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy, even if there is no disability. Under the new law, employers must reasonably accommodate pregnant employees unless it would cause undue hardship.
The Unformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), another federal law, gives eligible employees the right to be reinstated to their jobs after taking up to five years off for service in the U.S. military. These employees may be fired only for good cause for a period of up to one year after they return from service. Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their military service. (Find out all about USERRA in Taking Military Leave.)
The laws of many states extend similar rights to employees who serve in the state’s military (such as the militia) or are called to state active duty. In Connecticut, members of the Connecticut National Guard who are called to active duty by the state’s governor are entitled to the same protections provided under USERRA, including the right to take leave and be reinstated. Members of the state’s armed forces, such as the organized militia, may also take time off to perform required duties, including drills and training, without being required to use their paid vacation or holiday benefits.
Connecticut law also gives employees the right to take time off work, without fear of retaliation, for the civic responsibility of serving on a jury . Employers must allow employees to take time off for jury duty and jury service. Once an employee has served eight hours of jury duty, the employer may not require the employee to work more hours that day.
For the first five days of jury service, full-time employees must be paid their usual salary. After five days, however, this time may be unpaid. (However, under federal law, employers typically cannot deduct an exempt, salaried employee’s pay for time spent serving on a jury, unless the employee did no work for the entire week. For more information, see our article on pay docking.)