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State Senator

Ed Gomes

Representing Bridgeport & Stratford

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Sen. Gomes Makes Plea for Paid Family and Medical Leave 

HARTFORD— State Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport), along with his Senate Democratic colleagues, led a heartfelt and impassioned 90-minute discussion in the Senate chamber Tuesday on the need for a paid family and medical leave policy in Connecticut before the bill was tabled due to a lack of Republican support.

Sen. Gomes, who led passage of the bill as chairman of the Labor Committee, debated the merits of Senate Bill 1, “An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave,” an issue which has been a priority for Sen. Gomes other Democrats for many years and which recent polls show has the support of a majority of small business owners in Connecticut.

“Not having a paid family and medical leave program in our state has negatively affected the financial and economic stability of countless individuals and families in Connecticut,” Sen. Gomes said. “This bill would create a paid leave compensation program to provide wage replacement benefits to certain employees taking leave. It’s a necessary and basic need for families.”

 

With no Republican support for the measure, Senate Bill 1 was eventually tabled after 90 minutes of Democratic debate that included personal stories by Democratic state senators.

Though the bill is now dead for the 2017 legislative session, Senate Bill 1 offered:

 
  • Eight weeks of PAID family and medical leave in 2020; 10 weeks in 2022; and 12 weeks in 2024
  • Employees are eligible for paid FMLA immediately upon employment, contingent on certain past wage earnings
  • Employees are eligible for job protection after six months of employment and 500 hours of work at that employer
  • Payroll deduction must be less than one-half of 1%, to be paid for by the employee, not the employer
  • The payroll deduction applies to a salary cap equal to the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cap (currently $127,000 per year)
  • Paid FMLA varies depending on weekly pay: it would pay 100% first $385; 80% to $769; and 66% over $770
  • Weekly payouts would not to exceed $1,000
  • Employers cannot retaliate against those seeking paid FMLA
  • Applies to businesses with two or more employees
  • Employers with 50+ employees would offer a maximum of  8 weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks job protection in any 12-month period
  • Employers with 2-49 employees would offer a maximum of 8 weeks paid leave and 8 weeks job protection in any 12-month period
  • State and municipal employees could opt-in to the program via collective bargaining

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