CT Paid Leave: An Expansive Definition of “Family”

Under CT Paid Leave, a worker who takes time away from work to serve as a caregiver for a family member who is experiencing a serious health condition may be eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of income replacement benefits.

By Jessica Vargas

In fact, caregiver leave is the third most common reason workers apply for CT Paid Leave benefits, and 12 percent of all claims made are for this reason.

One thing that is unique about Connecticut’s paid family and medical leave program is its expansive definition of family. Under CT Paid Leave, a worker may receive income replacement benefits if they’re caring for a child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or an individual related by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of one of those family relationships. That means that if a worker has a close personal relationship with someone that is like, for example, the relationship between a parent and child, or between siblings, that worker may take caregiver leave and receive income replacement from CT Paid Leave for that time away from work.

While the determination of “relationship by affinity” is situation specific and governed by the circumstances of the individuals involved, here are a few examples of these types of relationships.

  • A friend of the family in whose home the worker lived in high school and whom the worker therefore considers to be family, regardless of the lack of biological or legal relationship.
  • An elderly neighbor to whom the worker has provided unpaid caregiving assistance and whom the worker considers to be like a grandparent.
  • An aunt or uncle who relies on the worker for unpaid care and who has maintained a strong and ensuring relationship with the worker as typically seen between individuals and their parents.
  • A child of the worker’s former partner who lived with the worker for several years and maintains a parent-like relationship with the worker.
  • An unmarried, significant other of the worker with whom the worker maintains a familial, spouse-like relationship, despite their lack of legal relationship to each other.
  • A person with whom the worker lived for several years, sharing financial responsibilities of the household and one another’s common welfare, and whom the worker considers to be family, despite not sharing a romantic, legal, or blood relationship.

It is not necessary for the person for whom the worker is taking caregiver leave to care for to live in the state or even in the country. For example, if a worker’s mother who lives in Brazil is experiencing a serious health condition and the worker would like to take caregiver leave and apply for CT Paid Leave benefits to care for her in Brazil, the worker would simply apply at www.ctpaidleave.org. The mother’s healthcare provider would complete the required Certification of a Serious Health Condition form and return it to CT Paid Leave with the other required documentation. The worker is not responsible for having the document translated if it is filled out in a language other than English because that is the healthcare provider’s primary language – CT Paid Leave will handle the translation.

To start an application, you may use the online portal at ctpaidleave.org or call (877) 499-8606.

This article was written by Jessica Vargas, CT Paid Leave Authority’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.