NEW YORK (AP) — Connecticut has joined a small but growing group of states that give employees paid leave to care for sick relatives or to deal with their own medical conditions.
Seven states and Washington, D.C., now have paid family and medical leave laws that provide for employee and/or employer-funded insurance pools to partially replace workers’ wages. The other states are California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, the state of Washington and Massachusetts.
Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation on June 25 that calls for a paid leave system for Connecticut by January 2022.
While there is variation among the laws, they all provide paid time off so employees can care for newborn, adopted or foster children, care for a seriously ill relative, or deal with their own disability or health conditions. Connecticut’s law also provides for paid leave for organ or bone marrow donors and to deal with issues related to a spouse’s, child’s or parent’s military service.
Laws provide for four to 12 weeks of paid family leave, and eight to 52 weeks for medical leave. Each state has its own formula for determining the benefits employees receive. In New Jersey, for example, employees can receive 66% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $650. On July 1, 2020, the rate will go up to 85%.
Legislation requiring paid parental leave has been introduced by Democratic and Republican members of Congress in recent years but hasn’t made much headway. Lawmakers have disagreed over how to fund it.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans support the creation of a program that provides 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, according to a survey released in December by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C.