Carmina Tessitore is a family law attorney, mediator and owner of The Law Offices of Carmina K. Tessitore, Esq., LLC., in Shelton and Westport.

Why is paid family and medical leave important to you personally?

My role as family law attorney and mediator, serving clients in New Haven and Fairfield counties in Connecticut from my small firm (The Law Offices of Carmina K. Tessitore, Esq., LLC is tremendously important to me.  My career success however is inextricably linked with my and my staff’s life success, in that we must be able to balance work and life needs, because equally important to me is the health and success of my and my staff’s family and social commitments, and community commitments. Should my spouse or a relative become ill necessitating my care and assistance, should I become pregnant necessitating time to care for my newborn child, should a staff member have any of these needs – without paid family leave my business would be negatively affected, as would the people and communities we serve.

As a small business owner, why do you support paid family leave?

Paid family leave provides a way to retain staff without increasing overhead when a staff member needs time off to care for a sick spouse, parent, or child. The program calls for an employee based pay system, wherein a small percentage of my employee’s salary would be set aside each week to ensure they have pay available to them should they need to take family leave for a period of time to provide needed care.  This frees up my business to bring on temporary staff if needed to fill in during their leave period so that our clients needs are still met.

How did you become aware of paid family leave?

Frankly, I was shocked to find out that there is no paid family leave already in place in Connecticut.  Through CWEALF’s many outreach initiatives, my business was invited to participate in informational sessions and roundtables to brainstorm the many benefits and any potential effects businesses would face with this program.  I came away from those sessions with a clearer understanding of how the program would work, how it benefits my business and staff, and the economy of our state.

What do you wish other business owners knew about paid family leave?

There are no out-of-pocket costs for businesses.  The program is entirely employee funded.  Not only does this bill address the right moral issues, but its also fiscally conservative and viable.

How will paid family leave change Connecticut?

Connecticut will be on the right track to match many countries and other states in our union that have already implemented paid family leave.  I read an article recently that spoke about the illegality of removing a newborn pup from it’s canine mother before eight weeks have passed, but a human mother is expected to return to work after little to no time to care for her newborn?  Elderly and ill loved ones are left to their own devices because their able relatives cannot take time off to care for them for financial reasons?  When did money become more important than family and love for each other?  Paid family leave is a win-win – its fiscally responsible and the right thing to do!

“Interviews with Our Champions” is a series by the Campaign featuring advocates leading the push for paid family and medical leave here in Connecticut. Know a Champion we should highlight? Contact