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Connecticut DOL Provides COVID-19 Guidance

The information below is copied from the Connecticut DOL website and provided here in an effort to assist those dealing with COVID-19 employment issues.

Frequently asked questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) for workers and employers

This guidance is for general informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for relevant state statutes.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (UI)

FOR WORKERS

Please go to www.filectui.com

Do not delay filing your claim for unemployment benefits even if your employer has not issued you any paperwork. It is important to file as soon as you become unemployed to avoid being denied benefits.

For faster processing of your claim, please have your employer’s registration number and a return to work date readily available when you file your claim online.

You should first visit our Online Assistance Center at www.filectui.com

We also offer Live Chat on www.filectui.com for questions concerning unemployment compensation, including the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the program.

You may also submit your general question to dol.webhelp@ct.gov. A response can be expected in 3 to 5 business days, depending on volume.

You may file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis. However, please note that an individual must be physically able and available for full time work in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

For faster processing of your claim, please have your employer’s registration number and a return to work date readily available when you file your claim online.

Your employer should provide you with an Unemployment Separation Package, found here, but do not delay filing if you do not have it.

You may file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

For faster processing of your claim, please have your employer’s registration number and a return to work date readily available when you file your claim online.

Your employer should provide you with an Unemployment Separation Package, found here, but do not delay filing if you do not have it.

If you are unable to work, you are most likely ineligible for UI until you are able to work. However, you may file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

For faster processing of your claim, please have your employer’s registration number and a return to work date readily available when you file your claim online.

Your employer should provide you with an Unemployment Separation Package, found here if you do not have it.

You should file for benefits as you may be eligible for partial unemployment. Please note: when working and filing, all hours and gross earnings must be reported. A portion of your gross earnings will be deducted from your weekly benefit rate.

Yes. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against individuals who have exercised their rights under the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act. Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-226a provides individuals who believe that they have been retaliated against with an opportunity for a hearing.

FOR EMPLOYERS

Yes, you can require your employee to stay home. However, you should issue the employee an Unemployment Separation Package, found here.

Your employee may file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning their eligibility. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis. However, please note that an individual must be physically able and available for full time work in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Please direct your employees to www.filectui.com and click the blue button to file their new claim for unemployment benefits.

For ongoing weekly continued claims filing, employees should go to www.filectui.com and click the green button.

The agency issues important emails throughout the initial claim filing process. Please advise your employees to look for these emails and read them carefully for next steps.

You will be liable in the same way you would be for a layoff or a shut down.

If the President declares a disaster that includes Connecticut and your company, it is possible you may not be liable.

Yes. The Department of Labor offers a SharedWork program which is a smart alternative to a layoff. The program allows employers to reduce the hours of full-time employees by as much as 60 percent, while their workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.

All employers with two or more full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate in the program, which is not designed for seasonal separations. To qualify, the business’ reduction of work cannot be less than 10 percent or more than 60 percent.

PAID SICK LEAVE (PSL) AND OTHER ABSENCES

For covered service workers and employers with 50 or more employees, PSL will cover certain absences caused by COVID-19.

PSL provides up to 40 hours of leave for certain workers per year for the following reasons:
▪ A service worker’s illness, injury or health condition
▪ The medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a service worker’s mental illness or physical illness, injury or health condition
▪ Preventative medical care for a service worker
▪ A service worker’s child’s or spouse’s illness, injury or health condition
▪ The medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a service worker’s child’s or spouse’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition
▪ Preventative medical care for a child or spouse of a service worker

Employees in CT are generally considered at-will employees, which means that either the employer or the employee is free to end the relationship at any time unless there is an applicable contract or collective bargaining agreement.

Therefore, in most cases, an employer who is not covered by the CT FMLA (over 75 employees in CT), federal FMLA (50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius) or CT’s Paid Sick Leave law (50 employees in CT) may terminate an employee for any reason as long as such termination is not based on an employee’s protected status such as the employee’s race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness or status as a veteran or any other applicable contract or law.

The employer may institute a more lenient absenteeism policy.

WAGES AND HOURS

If you are a non-exempt “hourly” employee, no. An employer is not required to pay a non-exempt employee for the time in which he or she performs no work.

If you are an exempt employee and you have worked for any portion of the week, yes. The employer is required to pay you the full weekly salary if you work for any portion of the week.

Also, it is not permissible for the employer to make any deduction for the time that the exempt employee is absent from work from the employee’s accrued Paid Time Off (“PTO”) benefits, because Conn. State Agencies Regs. § 31-60-14(b)(2)(A) does not permit a deduction “of any kind” when a lack of work is occasioned by the operating requirements of the employer.

No. For the non-exempt employee, an employer is not required to pay a non-exempt employee for the time in which he or she performs no work. For the exempt employee, the employer may make a deduction in pay in full-day increments pursuant to Conn. State Agencies Regs. § 31-60-14(b)(1)(B) because the employee is asking for the day off for personal reasons.

No. Employees are not required to be paid for any work week in which he or she performs no work at all during the week.

Yes, in the same manner as she was paid when she worked on the employer’s premises.

If she is a non-exempt, “hourly” employee, she must be paid for the actual amount of time that you are requiring her to work. You are not required to pay a non-exempt employee for the time in which he or she performs no work.

If she is an exempt “salaried with qualifying duties” employee, the employer is required to pay her the full weekly salary if she works for any portion of the week. No deductions can be made from the exempt employee’s Paid Time Off (PTO) fringe benefit leave banks to cover the time off, pursuant to Conn. State Agencies Regs. § 31-60-14(b)(2)(A).

FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)

You may be protected if:

• You are an eligible employee, who worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,000 hours in the past year
• The employer is a covered employer for FMLA purposes (75 or more employees in CT) and you have FMLA time available

Your employer may require you to submit a medical certification from your health care provider, in order to determine if this is a serious health condition under the FMLA.

If your health care provider substantiates a serious health condition, FMLA will protect your job. Also, your employer may institute a more lenient medical certification policy if it so wishes.

Also, it is not permissible for the employer to make any deduction for the time that the exempt employee is absent from work from the employee’s accrued Paid Time Off (“PTO”) benefits, because Conn. State Agencies Regs. § 31-60-14(b)(2)(A) does not permit a deduction “of any kind” when a lack of work is occasioned by the operating requirements of the employer.

You may be protected if:

• You are an eligible employee, the employer is a covered employer for FMLA purposes, and you have FMLA time available.
• Your employer may require you to submit a medical certification from your daughter’s health care provider, in order to determine if she has a serious health condition under the FMLA.
• If her health care provider substantiates a serious health condition, the FMLA will protect your job. Also, your employer may institute a more lenient medical certification policy if it so wishes.

At this time, if his daughter does not have a serious health condition under the FMLA, then his job will not be protected. You may institute a more lenient absenteeism policy if you so wish.

More information about COVID-19 and federal FMLA is available
from the USDOL Wage and Hour Division here:
www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic

COVID-19 Notice

We are closed to the public for your safety and ours, but we remain as dedicated as ever to working on our clients’ cases. In these uncertain times, we recognize that, now more than ever, employers may be in need of legal services. If your business needs legal assistance, please call us at 860-890-7212, and we will be pleased to discuss how we can be of help.