By Corrine, Clinton, CT
I am a school bus driver and when I was pregnant with my second child I was working in Clinton, CT. I worked right up to being put on bed rest for my blood pressure which actually added two weeks to my total of 6 weeks unpaid leave after my c-section in March of 2014. By the time I went back to work there was actually only 27 days left of actual work for the school year so in total I probably earned less than 10k for the entire year.
It was a serious tough time and then due to my baby getting jaundice and having some serious weight gain issues, I was unable to get any summer work to supplement the missed income. Pretty much ever since, we have lived paycheck to paycheck and sometimes juggling which bill gets paid on time and which doesn’t.
Additionally, even before welcoming our baby, my husband was involved in a motor vehicle accident in which he was badly injured and out of work for 4-6 weeks. That accident resulted in surgery the following spring which he then lost another 6-8 weeks of work. At that time he was able to take unpaid FMLA but he had to use his own vacation time for both incidents. Prior to him going to surgery we had a tragic loss of 2 family members in Jan of 2013 that caused me to lose 2 weeks of work to travel and do funeral arrangements for my father and sister.
Throughout all of these challenges we have been forced to live in a house in desperate need of a new roof from storm damage because our home owners insurance lapsed and FEMA provided minimal support. We have had to go 2 winters with the worry that if we got too much snow our roof could collapse. We had funding set up to finance a new roof but when we had finally saved up the money we needed, all of the medical bills from my husband’s accident were sent to collection putting us in debt over $50. No one at that point was willing to give us financing after seeing that on our credit report. So needless to say we have been living pay check to paycheck since the accident and are finally now getting some relief because the lawsuit has just settled from the accident.
Unfortunately it will only be enough to get me a working vehicle as I haven’t had one for over a year, a new roof, and pay off most if not all of our debt incurred by the accident. So we will still be living paycheck to paycheck for who knows for how long. Please support paid family & medical leave. It would have helped me when I gave birth to our child and would have helped my husband as he recovered from his car accident.