“My employer, a small firm of under ten people, can’t afford to provide paid family leave for medical emergencies or for childbirth. While my wife was visiting family in California, she suffered an unexpected attack of acute intermittent porphyria (a rare genetic condition that leaves sufferers in debilitating, life-threatening levels of pain during an attack) and was hospitalized for a week. Our CEO and the rest of the company all insisted I fly out to be with her, and covered what tasks they could for me while I was at her hospital bedside for the week-long attack to run its course.

I am fortunate that I could be with her during that time. If I hadn’t still been working from afar my work would have kept piling up – and our company isn’t big enough to offer a benefit other than personal time off to use on this. I could have chosen to sacrifice my week of vacation time, but I had promised to take my wife on a trip out of the country. I didn’t want to deny her this much needed vacation, so I chose to work while I was at her side in the hospital, adding to my stress and having a detrimental effect on my work as well.”

Krishna Sampath, New Haven