CT DOL Issues Final Paid FMLA Regs; CT Insurance Department Releases 2023 Rates; DHS Proposes Change
New Connecticut FMLA regs and new and significant increases in the cost of health insurance will be affecting employers throughout the state; proposed change to I-9 physical requirements would be welcome.
Paid FMLA Regulations
Effective August 3, 2022, the Connecticut Department of Labor issued final CT FMLA regulations. The long-awaited guidance comes more than three years after the Act was signed into law. Key provisions of the final regulations include:
· Confirmation that employees need only provide a “simple written statement” to take leave to care for “an individual related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association is equivalent to the family relationships;”
· Clarification that an employer cannot require an employee returning from leave to requalify for any benefits enjoyed prior to going on leave;
· A requirement that employers who require a fitness for duty certification to return to employment convey that obligation to the employee at the time the employer notifies the employee of their eligibility to take leave (no later than 5 business days after receiving a request for leave or learning that the employee is taking leave for a qualifying reason.)
· A provision allowing employers to request one re-certification in less than 30 days if the (1) employee requests an extension of leave, (2) circumstances described by the prior certification have changed significantly, or (3) employer discovers information that calls into question the employee’s proffered reason for the absence or the validity of the certification. The old regulations did not allow an employer to require a recertification more than once in a 30-day period.
Connecticut 2023 Approved Health Insurance Rates
The Connecticut Insurance Department issued its final approvals on health insurance premiums on September 2, 2022. The CID approved double digit increases for 8 of 13 insurance plans on and off the exchange. For small group plans, the average increase in 2023 will be 7.9%; the Department rejected a request from the carriers of a 47% increase. The average rate increase requested in the individual market is 12.9% down, from the 37% the carriers requested.
DOL Proposes Remote Verification
On August 18th, the Department of Homeland Security issued proposed regulations which would create a framework to provide employers with alternatives to the current requirement that employers physically examine documentation presented by individuals seeking to establish identity and employment authorization for the purposes of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification .
The proposed rule would greatly improve the current problem for employers who are hiring employees remotely, and in some cases, internationally. The public comment period will close on October 18th.