“I’ve watched my sister struggle with chronic illness since the age of 10. I’ve seen the toll that illness has taken on her life and the challenges she’s had in caring for her needs while still working full-time. There have been times in her life when her illnesses have flared up and she’d struggle to just have the energy to get out of bed.

During those times, when her illnesses are at their worst, she’s had to take unpaid time off from work. Having to take unpaid time off wasn’t really a choice; it was necessity for her to get back to a place of better health. She struggled with having to rely on our parents for financial help because she was embarrassed that taking time off meant she could no longer pay her bills.

Having essentially multiple life-long chronic illnesses has been hard on her. Worrying about when her illnesses might flare up again and what she’ll do if she’s in the position of needing to take time off again is a lot to handle on an emotional level. She’s persevered through so much in her life – she graduated college with honors and has succeeded in her career – but the illnesses are always still there.

Having access to paid family leave would go a long way in helping my sister, and others suffering from chronic illness, have a better quality of life. Knowing that she could take paid time off from work if she really needed to would reduce her anxiety and help her focus on what really matters – taking care of her health.”

-Michelle, CT