A few years ago, I developed a very bad stress fracture in my hip. I had to take several weeks off just to start the healing process. Luckily, at the time, I was making decent money and had purchased short term disability insurance for about $6.00 per week. My employer covered about 60% of my wages while I was out and the insurance paid the rest.

Even with this insurance, my recuperation time was cut short. I was called by my employer and told that if I didn’t return to work almost immediately, I would lose my health insurance, life insurance and 401(k). I have a son and we couldn’t afford to lose health insurance so I went back to work in pain, dazed on painkillers. Until I was laid off.

I would not be able to afford that short term disability insurance with my job today. If I become ill and miss work, I will not be able to pay any of my bills. However, I can afford the minimal amount that would be deducted from my paycheck under the proposed Paid Family and Medical Leave bill and it will save me and my family should I ever become ill again.

As a worker I support that the proposed paid family & medical leave system is entirely employee funded and preserves the jobs – and the benefits – of people who experience an extended illness. I did everything right. Despite that, I was still harassed into coming back to work before I was medically ready. We need paid family and medical leave. Without it, workers who become ill, or have to take care of an ill family member, can suffer disastrous financial consequences.

Cheryl Nucci, Branford