Effective January 1, a new Connecticut state law now require home care agencies to conduct a local and national criminal background check of prospective employees. Also, under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, benefit payments begin for approved paid leave benefit applications.
Under Public Act 21-37 agencies are required to search a multi-state and multi-jurisdiction criminal record locator or similar commercial nationwide database with validation; search the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website; and use a third-party consumer reporting agency or background screening company that is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association and in compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The bill passed in the 2021 session and, after negotiation with the Department of Consumer Protection and significant changes, was supported by HCAOA Connecticut.
According to a summary by the Office of Legislative Research (OLR), the new law also:
DCP plans to issue regulations to implement the new law and has indicated it prefers to educate agencies about its requirements rather than vigorously enforce them, at least initially. The HCAOA Connecticut Chapter plans to host a program about the new requirements featuring DCP officials.
Also on January 1, the Paid FMLA program began providing wage replacement benefits for up to 12 weeks over a 12-month period to certain employees taking leave for various reasons, including the birth, adoption or foster placement of the employee's child; or for the employee’s or family member’s serious health condition. The program also provides two additional weeks of benefits for a serious health condition that results in incapacitation during pregnancy. Public Act 19-25 created a “non-charge” against an employer's unemployment tax experience rate which allows an employer to lay off an employee who was temporarily filling the job of another employee on FMLA leave without increasing the employer's unemployment taxes.
For additional information about the new law and amendments, including covered employers and employees, employee contributions, rates, benefits, uses and resources, see the summary prepared by OLR and Connecticut Paid Leave.