Legislators consider proposal for Paid Family and Medical Leave

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A proposal to give workers paid leave to care for themselves or family members was front and center in Hartford Thursday.

Dozens of workers turned out to the State Capitol asking for Paid Family and Medical Leave. They say no one should have to choose between their job and their family.

The plan covers caring for yourself, a spouse, kids, parents, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren. It would come at a cost -- an extra half-percent of a person's salary each paycheck starting in July 2020.

Kaitlyn Shake, from Stratford, is among those making the push. She says she could not afford to take off work last May when her mom became ill.

"I would go to work for 12, 13 hours, get out of work, drive a half-hour, go to the hospital," says Shake.

Shake and other workers want Connecticut to create a Paid Family and Medical Leave program. Companies would have to offer up to three months of leave each year, and the state would guarantee all of a person's salary, up to $1,000 per week.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the state's largest business group, says Family Medical Leave would kill mom-and-pop companies

"If you have a small business with only a couple of employees and one of them is out for significant periods of time every single year, that means the revenue that that person is bringing in is gone. But their bills aren't gone," says Eric Gjede, of the CBIA.

Gov. Ned Lamont has signed on to the idea, but it is not clear how far he wants Paid Family and Medical Leave to go. A clearer picture could be painted next Wednesday when Lamont is in Hartford for his budget address.


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