What elected officials, non-profits and citizens are saying about the importance of paid family & medical leave:

“My father passed away at approximately two in the morning on January 12, 2009 at our family home in Killingly, Connecticut. At the time of his death, my mother, having been obligated to financially support the household, was preparing work documents in the other room. She ultimately lost out on closure, as well as time, because she could not afford to take unpaid leave. While it is difficult to put into words the gravity of any great loss, I can say for certain that the financial burdens of my father’s illness inhibited the quality and quantity of time that my mother spend with him in his final hours.” -Danielle Simoneau, Danielson, CT (Full testimony)

“I had a child, my third, earlier this year. To give birth I took unpaid medical leave for three weeks. Three weeks after the birth of my baby, I wasn’t really feeling ready to work because the drive-thru is much more strenuous a job than most people expect but I needed to earn money. It broke my heart to have to separate from my 3-week old child but I have no savings and simply could not afford to stay home with my newborn. I wish more than anything I could have taken the time to bond with my baby and recover from birth, but without a source of income it just was impossible.” -Melissa Smith, CT (Full testimony)

“The bill to create a paid family leave system in Connecticut will have an enormous impact on many families. If this system already existed when my mom fell ill, I would have been able to take the necessary time off from work without being worried about all the unpaid bills that were accumulating. It also would have mean that once my mother got better, I would have been able to go back to work and would have been protected from getting fired because of the choice I had to make to take care of her.” -Mimi Tremmier, East Hartford, CT (Full testimony)

“Several years ago my husband suffered a stroke as a result of scarring from a brain tumor he had as a child…My husband’s stroke was severe. He is essentially paralyzed on the left side of his body now. The effects of the stroke could have been mitigated by intensive physical therapy, but, at the time, there was no transportation for him to a local treatment center; I would have had to drive him. Because I had no paid leave I could not afford to miss work. I could not afford to take care of my husband…As a consequence my husband essentially received no physical therapy after his stroke.” -Shari Smith, Norwich, CT (Full testimony)

“Not too long ago, my father suddenly became very ill and was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. Bells Palsy is a paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face…My mom and I had to take on the responsibility of taking care of my dad and nursing him back to health. While I did this, I have to cut my hours at the daycare (where I work) to tend to my sick father. I was happy to help my mom and take care of my father but less hours at work meant less money in my paycheck. My student loans, care payment and other bills started to pile up. It was a very difficult time for my family and the financial burden just added to our stress.” – Rachelle Chevalier, Wethersfield, CT (Full testimony)

“Research shows that when employees do take advantage of provided protected time off to take care of family members, they are more likely to return to work, to be more satisfied with their employer, reducing turnover rates and related costs, and are also more productive in the workplace.” -Jordanna Frost, Mansfield, CT (Full testimony)

“In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma the same year as my daughter was born. Her condition quickly went from bad to work and in the winter of 2010, the year my son was born, she was lucky enough to receive the gift of a stem cell transplant. My mother’s illness was a life changing event for our entire family. My father was forced to retire early as his employer could not give him the amount of time off that he would need to take care of my mother…Knowing that my mother was dying and facing the fact that the transplant was not a guarantee we all wanted to spend as much time with her as we possible could to support her and each other.” -Katie Trauner, CT

“Right now I don’t have a backup savings because I depleted it. I have a mutual fund that was set up a while ago, but it’s not nearly enough,  and if I had to take it out before I’m 69 and a half, I’d be penalized. God forbid I get sick. I need guaranteed paid family & medical leave in case something goes wrong.” -Ann Caroll, Milford, CT (Full testimony)

“Last year, an employee missed a month (of work) because of a double chest infection, and we compensated him for lost time. We never gave it a second thought. If somebody faces something difficult, an illness, or a tragedy, we do our best to take care of that personal until they are back on their feet. Needless to say, because of this belief, employee morale is incredibly high.” -Matt Arciuolo, Owner of Arciulolo’s Shoes and Footstar Orthotics in Milford, CT (Full testimony)

“It is my opinion that paid family leave is important to families and particularly in our case because our daughter has arthrogryposis and is confined toe a wheelchair… If the primary caretaker becomes ill, incapacitated in some way, or perhaps away on business, the other parent needs to be available to step in without losing pay.” Joanne Grailich, CT (Full testimony)

“Opponents of paid leave opine that low-wage workers are just trying to shirk their jobs, but we have the primary job of taking care of our families. That shouldn’t be too much to ask. It won’t break the bank of most businesses, and might even help morale and productivity.” -Katie Hill, Eastford, CT (Full testimony)

“As a senior citizen, paid family leave means that, without concern about losing a day’s pay, there can be a member of my family available to help me out should the need arise.” Win Heimer, Hartford, CT

“The work of caring for the sick must be done. We can either provide paid leave to workers to allow them to care for sick family members or we can pay hospitals and facilities to do this when the lack of care at home puts the sick person into the hospital.” -Deborah Brody Chen, Cromwell, CT (Full testimony)

“Women with families have two jobs — the job outside the home that pays money and the job inside the home that does not pay. Many women have to work two outside jobs to survive. This is not a healthy situation, but it is a reality. A paid family and medical leave program would begin to address this issue. It is the least we can do.” -Dorothy Lovett Buckley, Hartford, CT (Full testimony)

“Even is my firm had been covered by the FMLA, after the birth of my son I would only have been entitled to up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave. As a relatively new attorney at a small law firm with a spouse who was an enlisted sailor, it would have been financially difficult, if not impossible, for me to take off twelve weeks, or even eight weeks, without earning any money. The stress of taking unpaid leave likely would have overshadowed my bonding time with my newborn baby.” -Jessica Labrencis, West Hartford, CT (Full testimony)

“Women are a large part of the workforce and should have paid maternity leave. We always talk a god game about children’s health and well being and this should begin during pregnancy and continue during the child’s first few months when it is most frail and requires close attention from the mother. In the long run taking care of the health of the child and the mother is cheaper than risking the health of both by severing the mother and child bond.” -Joseph Janiga, East Haven, CT (Full testimony) 

“Women are far more likely to have primary responsibility to care for children and elderly family members, yet far less likely to have paid time off to care for them. We need to create a system of paid family and medical leave so that workers can support their families.” -Carole Osborn, Winsted, CT (Full testimony)

“We are here in solidarity with the pregnant mother that doesn’t have enough, if any, paid sick days to cover her maternity leave so instead of staying home and bonding with her new child, she is forced to put her new born baby in an incredibly high cost childcare facility and return to work. We’re here in solidarity with Dhanyah… a young black woman from Hartford who recently got offered a promotion at her job but unexpectedly her father suffered from an aneurysm and she was forced to choose between the man that raised and nurtured her in her times of need and the job she wanted and needed… Dhanyah chose her father; she did not get the promotion.” -Arvia Walker, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (Full testimony)

“Businesses owned and run by women recognize that when all employees are fairly compensated and unburdened by concerns about balancing caregiving and professional demands, that a business can thrive and capitalize on its motivated, committed employees; it is these very employees on which we rely as consumers to purchase goods and services from local businesses.” -Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce (Full testimony)

“Taking paternity leave shows great benefits to fathers. Fathers who take paternity leave report feeling greater senses of self-efficacy in parenting as well as heightened senses of responsibility toward the security of their children.” – Lauren Ruth, CT (Full testimony)

“Any argument that the expansion of the law (FMLA) is bad for business or the economy is tempered by these facts: the 711,000 family caregivers in Connecticut that give 465 million hours of free home care worth $5.8 billion or more each year is a health care support system that we cannot afford to further jeopardize.” -Nora Duncan, CT AARP (Full testimony)

“Many women who suffer from anxiety and depression would be able to mother confidently and with joy if they were assured of the time to meet their infants’ needs during the “fourth trimester.” If families were given more support, minimally the opportunity to keep their jobs and pay their bills, during the postpartum period, not only would we see less anxiety and depression, we would see fewer problems with those babies and families as they grow and develop.” -Sharon Thomason, Psychologist, The MomSource, LLC (Full testimony)

“Paid leave simply makes sense in public health terms. Workers need to be able to care for themselves or their family in times of illness, as well as have adequate time to care for and bond with a newborn child. To know that there are people whose health is suffering because their family would have to go into debt to provide them the support and care they need is tragic. At one point or another, we will all rely on someone else for care, and it’s time for workplace policies to recognize and accommodate this basic human need.” – Christian Miron, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut (Full testimony) 

“In Connecticut in the year 2015, sons and daughters should not have to worry about how they are going to financially keep their families afloat while they care for a dying parent. Life outside our professional world happens and part of that life comes with financial obligations. However, at times of incredible challenge and stress, figuring out how we are going to pay for heat or food or other basic necessities just shouldn’t be an issue. Not here. Not now. We owe it to ourselves to set up a system to help support us during these hard times.” -Ruth Canovi, CT Lung Association (Full testimony)

“Victims of sexual assault and dating violence may need to seek medical or psychological counseling for injury or disability; to obtain services for victims relocation due to violence; or to participate in civil and criminal proceedings.” – CONNSACS (Full testimony)

“Unfortunately, FMLA is not working for most people in Connecticut for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that only employees of firms of 50 or more employees are covered. The second, and perhaps the most important reasons, is that FMLA provides job protection but does not provide any type of income replacement to the worker. Very few workers actually have access to some type of paid family leave or short-term disability program. Taking a couple of unpaid days off is often a burden for most workers, taking an unpaid extended period of time off can be financially catastrophic.” -Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, CT Working Families (Full testimony)

“From our experience in housing, employment and other areas of civil law, it is all too frequent that low income families lose their housing for want of one or two months’ rent when the head of the household cannot work due to an illness, or where a family member has a medical condition which requires a caregiver to be absent from work. A paid family medical leave program could be the difference between having a home and homelessness, between a family’s stability and destabilization.” -CT Legal Services (Full testimony)

“Many small business owners agree that paid family and medical leave isn’t just the right thing to do, but that is makes good business sense. Taking care of employees is crucial to retaining a loyal, talented workforce. Small employers support family medical leave policies because they create happier and more productive staff, which in turn leads to increased profits.” -Erik Rettig, Small Business Majority (Full testimony)

“Paid family leave helps families at a moment when care for a loved one is desperately needed. Having family members care for a sick relative can lessen the cost of government programs which otherwise might have to step in. Research shows that allowing parents time to bond with a newly arrived child can result in far better outcomes for that child’s future life.” – Brian Anderson, Council 4 AFSME (Full testimony)

“Providing paid leave to recover from an illness, to care for a new baby, or to care for a sick family member would ease the burden on low wage workers who cannot afford to take unpaid leave.” -Cheri Quickmire, CT Common Cause (Full testimony)

“An employee who is dealing with a mental health condition may need more time off during an especially difficult period than paid sick days afford him/her, while remaining willing and ready to return to work once he/she is able to take care of this health situation An employee who has a family member who is dealing with a difficult time with a mental condition might need some extra time as well. This family member could be a parent or sibling of any age.” -Daniele Giordano, National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut (Full testimony)

“Allowing people to care for a family member who has experienced domestic violence can be a critical piece of stabilization for the victim. Having access to a form of paid leave would be beneficial to many victims of domestic violence across the state.” -Sarah Johnson, CCADV (Full testimony)

“Having paid time off to take care of any family member is good public policy. It’s what other advanced countries do. It’s the right thing to do.” -CT Alliance for Retired Americans (Full testimony)

“As society changes we need to continue to value family. None of us are immune from family events that cause stress and anguish, and we know that the more time a parent can spend with a new baby the better. The time we are able to spend with one another when we are in greatest need is a precious gift.” -Elizabeth Fraser, CT Association for Human Services (Full testimony)

“The current lack of paid family leave is an example of an outdated, male-oriented policy. Years ago, it was true that women were responsible for the caretaking in the family. Times have changed and women are now prevalent in the workplace; therefore, policy changes need to be implemented to accommodate all employees.” -Eastern Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Full testimony)

“Paid leave enables mothers to breastfeed longer, establish important bonds, and ensure proper vaccinations and early medical care. When seriously ill children have their parents with them in the hospital, they recover more quickly. And workers with time to properly recover from major illnesses are likely to do so more quickly and fully.” -Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, CLASP (Full testimony)