High demand, some delays for Connecticut's new Family & Medical Leave program
Officials say the state's new Family & Medical Leave program has paid out over $86 million in benefits since December, but they also admit some workers have waited over a month and a half for their claims to be processed.
"This is a new program, and every state has had its own form of delay in its program, and we expected that to happen,” said Andrea Barton Reeves, from Connecticut Paid Leave Authority.
Members of Connecticut's new Paid Leave Authority say some workers have been waiting too long to receive benefits. Some were waiting for six weeks.
AFLAC is the corporate partner administering benefits. Senior vice president Scott Beeman says the program saw a jump in February, with more than 10,000 claims filed in a month.
"Leave rates through the country were increasing well-beyond anticipated levels. But more importantly, and dramatically compounded for us, was the rapid spread of Omicron through the state,” said Beeman.
Officials say COVID-19 is not, in and of itself, covered under the state's family & medical leave law - and many of those claims ended up being invalid.
Beeman says more needs to be done to educate workers on the program's requirements and the application process.
AFLAC is also diverting more staff to handling leave claims.
Officials say all applications they're dealing with now are within 30 days of the start of their leave.