By Ann Lopez
Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would offer paid family and medical leave to state residents.
The General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee heard testimony Tuesday in favor of the bill this week.
Carolyn Treiss, executive director of Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, described what the bill would do.
Employees would pay into a trust fund through payroll deductions. She said that in return, she said they would be allowed to “take up to 12 weeks paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member suffering from an illness or to care for one’s own illness.”
Treiss also said participation is mandatory and all employees state, municipal and private are eligible for the benefit.
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut said three other states, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, have benefited from similar policies.
“Analysis of states with paid family and medical leave showed that these programs reduced the number of families on public assistance,” she said. “Women in these states were less likely to receive public assistance or food stamp income following a child’s birth.”
DeLauro said only 13 percent of the workforce in Connecticut has paid family leave through their employers. She said access to the benefit should not be a lottery based on where you happen to find work.