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Connecticut News

Hartford Lawmakers Consider Paid Family Leave

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford
Sage Ross

In Connecticut supporters of paid family and medical leave made their case to state lawmakers on Thursday.

Jillian Gilchrest, a West Hartford lawyer, told members of the labor committee that as a new mother living in San Diego, she benefitted from California’s program. She saod she’s now back in Connecticut and would like families in her home state to have the same benefits.

“After my son was born my doctor and I completed some simple paperwork and shortly thereafter I began receiving some weekly payments, which partially replaced my earnings for 12 weeks. During that 12-week time period I was able to recover physically and emotionally from childbirth, and I was able to care for and bonding with my new baby.”

The Connecticut proposal would create a state-run program funded by a half percent weekly payroll deduction.

Opponents suggested that it might be unfair to require all workers to contribute to the program, but State Representative Christine McCarthy Vahey, D-Fairfield, defended the funding mechanism.

“The vast majority of us will be impacted at some point in time by some family life event that may well necessitate that we take advantage of these programs. So I remain open to the conversation, but I think that half a percentage point is very reasonable.”

The bill has failed to make it through the legislature in past years, but supporters are hoping it will make it this year because of a larger Democratic majority in the General Assembly.

It also has the support of Governor Ned Lamont.