Paid Sick Leave Updates for Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York

Jan 8, 2021 | Domestic Workers' Rights, GTM Blog, Labor Laws


The start of the new year has seen changes to a few state paid sick leave programs and laws. Household employers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York should review these paid sick leave updates to ensure compliance with labor laws.

Paid sick leave programs continue to grow in popularity with nine states and Washington, D.C. providing or planning to offer some sort of mandatory paid family and medical leave to employees.

The start of 2021 has seen changes to a few of these paid sick leave programs.

In Connecticut, employee contributions have started for that state’s new paid family and medical leave program. Workers in Massachusetts can start taking paid sick leave in 2021. A new sick leave law went into effect for New York State. While in New York City, all household employees are now eligible for paid safe and sick leave.

Let’s take a look at each of these states as they relate to household employment.

Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

Employee payroll deductions began on January 1, 2021, for Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

Workers can start taking benefits in January 2022. The program provides paid leave for life events including the worker’s own serious health concern; care for a child after birth, adoption, or foster placement; and care to a seriously ill or injured family member; among other reasons.

The payroll deduction is 0.5% of wages. A household employee like a nanny earning $500/week would likely see a $2.50 pre-tax deduction on their weekly paycheck.

There is no employer contribution to the program. However, household employers will need to remit employee contributions on their behalf to the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority. Learn more about the process for employers.

For clients of GTM Payroll Services, we will automatically make this deduction from your employee’s pay and remit payments on your behalf to the state. There is nothing you need to do. However, you can always reach us at (800) 929-9213 with any questions.

Massachusetts’ Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

In Massachusetts, most benefits under the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program became available to employees – including household workers – on January 1, 2021.

Employees are eligible to take up paid leave (and how much they can take) for:

  • their own serious health condition (up to 20 weeks)
  • bonding with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth; adoption; or foster care placement (up to 12 weeks)
  • care for a family member who is or was a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves and developed or aggravated a serious health condition in the line of duty on active duty while deployed to a foreign country (up to 26 weeks)
  • managing family affairs when a family member is on or has been called to active duty in the armed forces, including the National Guard or Reserves (up to 12 weeks)

On July 1, 2021, your employee can also claim benefits to:

  • care for a family member with a serious health condition (up to 12 weeks)

Paid medical leave is capped at 20 weeks per benefit year while the maximum amount of paid family leave is 12 weeks per benefit year. The most an employee can take off, combining family and medical leave, is 26 weeks per benefit year.

How employees can apply for paid family and medical leave

Household employers were required to remit PFML contributions starting October 1, 2019, to the Department of Family and Medical Leave. The total employee contribution for both family and medical leave is 0.378 percent of wages.

  • The family leave contribution is 0.13 percent of wages
  • The effective contribution for medical leave is 0.248 percent of wages (employees pay 40 percent of the 0.62 percent owed for medical leave)

As a household employer, you are not required to pay the employer share (the remaining 60 percent) of the medical leave contribution since you have less than 25 workers.

You may choose to cover all or a portion of your employee’s PFML contributions in order to reduce or eliminate the amounts owed by your employees.

Use the Paid Family and Medical Leave Calculator to determine your employee’s contribution.

Employer’s guide to paid family and medical leave

Employers are required to provide workers with written notice of the benefits available under PFML and display a PFML poster in the workplace. For non-English speaking employees, you can download translated notices.

How to comply with Massachusetts PFML

Again, for clients of GTM Payroll Services, we are managing employee PFML contributions for you.

New York State’s Paid Sick Leave Law

Under New York State’s Paid Sick Leave Law, workers employed in the state – including household employees – can use job-protected, paid or unpaid sick leave for certain designated purposes beginning January 1, 2021. Employees began accruing leave on September 30, 2020.

Sick leave can be used for treatment, care, preventative care, and diagnosis for an employee’s or employee’s family member’s illness, injury, or health condition.

All household employees in New York State are covered by the law and eligible for sick leave. There is no distinction between full- and part-time workers.

An employee’s immigration status also has no effect on their eligibility for sick leave benefits under the law.

Household employers with between one and four employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid leave If their net income is $1 million or less in the previous tax year. That sick leave will need to be paid if the employer exceeded $1 million in net income over that time.

Households with five or more employees are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. There is no net income condition for larger employers.

Families in New York City should also review the details of the Paid Safe and Sick Time Act, which requires sick leave to be paid for household employees.

Paid sick leave under this new law is in addition to the three paid days of rest each year (after one year of work for the same employer) household employees receive under the state’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Time Act

New York City has amended its Paid Safe and Sick Time Act (also referred to as the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act or ESSTA) to align with the state’s new paid sick leave law. The amendments to the NYC Paid Sick Leave Law took effect on Sept. 30, 2020. Employees who are newly eligible for certain leave benefits under the amendments had to wait until January 1 for those benefits to apply.

The Paid Sick Leave amendments require household employers to:

  • provide nannies, housekeepers, and other domestic workers with 40 hours of paid safe and sick leave
  • allow employees to use safe and sick leave as it is accrued;
  • reimburse employees who must pay for required documentation after three consecutive workdays of leave;
  • list on employees’ paystubs (or any document issued each pay period):
    • amounts of accrued and used sick and safe leave during the pay period
    • total balance of accrued safe and sick leave

The amendments also specify that leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate.

GTM can help

As more states and cities add and amend paid leave requirements, it can be confusing for household employers to figure out how to comply with the law. Mistakes can be costly resulting in fines and penalties. There is an easier way. Get a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a household employment expert by calling (800) 929-9213. We’ll answer any questions you have about hiring and employing someone to work in your home and explain your obligations and responsibilities as an employer.

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