As someone who has lived in Connecticut for half of her life, I have seen and personally been affected by the lack of paid family leave in the state of Connecticut.I am currently working on my Masters in Public Administration at the University of Connecticut and I hope to mold more policies that benefit women and their families.

When I was pregnant with my oldest son I was 18 years old working full-time at Burger
King for minimum wage. I also had a 4 year old daughter and found myself struggling to
make ends meet. Despite my good customer services and great work ethic I found myself
having to leave my job when I neared my delivery. During this time I was forced to collect
full state benefits (SNAP, TANF & Medical) because my employer did not provide paid
family leave.

Fast-forward almost 10 years later at the age of 27 when I was pregnant with my third
and last child and I found myself in the same predicament, despite having an Associates
and Bachelors Degree. I had a decent paying job at a law firm; however, because I was
considered a part-time employee, making 25-30 hours per week, my employer did not
provide paid family leave. This time I attempted to buffer the shock to my family by
hoarding money like a squirrel with the hopes of being able to maintain my family
without being a burden to society. I failed.

Within a few weeks, I was back on full state benefits and had to get back to work sooner then expected. This was devastating to me and left me depressed. There is nothing like having that bonding time with a newborn baby especially as a breastfeeding mom. In spite of the misconception, the majority of us are not irresponsible parents that do not make preparations. We work hard making ends meet and cannot always save money for the future if we are living and struggling day by day.

I support the passage of paid family & medical leave because it is needed for all mothers, like me, that do not have an alternative, after all it places less of the burden on the state of Connecticut.

Maria Cruz, CT