CT lawmakers receive stuffed animals to underscore need for paid - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT lawmakers receive stuffed animals to underscore need for paid family leave

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Lawmakers in Connecticut on Thursday receive stuffed animals to underscore need for paid family leave. (WFSB) Lawmakers in Connecticut on Thursday receive stuffed animals to underscore need for paid family leave. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Activists visited the State Capitol on Thursday afternoon and lobbied for paid family and medical leave.

These activists were pushing Connecticut lawmakers to pass a paid family and medical leave this session.

"It's time we stop treating child care like a side issue and give it the priority it deserves," Catherine Bailey with the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund said. "Women are still most often the primary caregivers in their families.”

Connecticut lawmakers received stuffed puppies to help "underscore the need and priority that passing a paid family leave bill should be afforded this session." 

"One in four women goes back to work only two weeks after having a baby and yet a puppy in Connecticut cannot be separated from its mother before eight weeks," Bailey said. 

As Mother’s Day approaches, Bailey said she hopes “lawmakers will not only consider the many sacrifices mothers make to start families.”

“But, also pass paid leave because it's just smart economic policy that bridges the gender pay gap and builds wealth for families and our State," Bailey said. 

The bills would allow employees to earn up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave by having them contribute a portion of their paycheck to a fund starting in 2019.  

"I've seen it too many times when a woman has to make a choice between her job and her baby," Westport representative Juliana Hess said. 

Lindsay Farrell with Working Families Organization said paid leave is needed “to close the pay gap.”  

“Women lose 4% of their earning potential with every child that they have because they are fired from their jobs, punished for taking time off, or unable to advance because they leave the workforce and need to start over. Connecticut will lose even more workers and families to our neighboring states who provide the paid family and medical leave,” Farrell said. 

Some legislators said it's a win, win for employees and employers.

"I I think it absolutely makes Connecticut a more attractive place to work," Josh Elliott (D-Hamden) said. "I think one of the big misnomers of being business friendly is that it has to be good for the owner. I think if we have good business policies that attract good laborers then we'll be able to have strong businesses."

While many said they are optimistic the bill will pass before the end of the session, there are still hurdles to overcome.

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