Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law a bill that will provide paid family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks for all Connecticut employees. The program will be funded through a payroll tax on workers.
Some in the business community have opposed the legislation, saying it will leave small employers with a depleted workforce, and that it will make the state less competitive.
“The notion that people are just going to abuse this system and commit fraud, I heard over and over again,” said Majority Leader Matt Ritter. “Let’s not be so distrustful of one another. There are bad actors everywhere you go, both employees and employers.”
Middletown resident Kellin Atherton said that even though he did not get the chance to benefit from the bill during the birth of his daughters, he knows that it will be good for many families.
“Connecticut has an aging population, Middletown especially has an aging population,” said Atherton. “There’s a lot of families that are gonna have to take time to care for their older parents, or grandparents, or aunts and uncles whatever....You need to be able to have some financial comfort or consistency.”
Lamont said that Connecticut has always been a leader when it came to the regulation of working conditions. However this new law provides more benefits to families.
Twenty-five years ago, "when it was unpaid family leave, folks would maybe take two maybe three weeks, that’s all they could afford to do,” said Lamont. “This bill means, you can now take the time you need to care for a sick child, to care for a new child, and do what you gotta do and you don’t have to choose between a job and someone you love.”
The legislation was a key aim of the new progressive wing of Lamont's Democratic party in the General Assembly.