In the 2019 legislative session, Connecticut lawmakers PASSED paid family and medical leave legislation. Public Act No. 19-25: An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave creates a statewide system of job protected paid leave to workers who need to take time off to care for themselves or a loved one, or welcome a new child.
The United States remains one of only two countries in the world without a national paid family and medical leave program. Currently, only 17% of workers and 6% of low-wage workers, who are disproportionately women and people of color, have access to paid family and medical leave through their employer. Connecticut is surrounded by states (RI, NY, NJ and MA) that previously passed paid family and medical leave.
This year, Connecticut became the seventh state to pass paid family and medical leave and the new law is one of the most comprehensive paid leave programs in the country. Paid family and medical leave is a win for Connecticut’s women, families and businesses. Paid family and medical leave:
- Attracts and retains a talented workforce our economy needs to thrive and removes the financial burden from small businesses when workers have a major health or family event and need to take time off from work.
- Improves health outcomes for workers, caregivers, and children, and leads to lower mortality rates and emergency health care spending. Without paid leave, workers often spiral into debt, are forced to quit their jobs, and are unable to pay medical bills or other household expenses.
- Is a critical racial justice issue: workers of color are over-represented in low-wage jobs that do not provide paid leave and, due to racial wealth and wage gaps, have fewer resources to absorb the financial impact of a family or personal medical emergency.
Since 2013, the Campaign for Paid Family Leave, a coalition of more than 75 organizations and 100 small businesses, fought for the passage of real paid leave that is accessible to and inclusive of all workers – no matter where they work, what they earn, or who they care for. CWEALF leads the Campaign for Paid Family Leave and will continue to advocate for a transparent and successful implementation of the paid family and medical leave program.