TB workers can now request new paid vacation program


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Andrea Barton Reeves, CEO of the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority, announced that the state is accepting applications for its new social safety net program on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

Connecticut workers can now apply for a new paid family and medical leave program, which will allow people to cover basic living expenses if they take time off work to raise a child or care for a sick relative .

Gov. Ned Lamont, several key members of his administration and a handful of Democratic lawmakers across the state officially announced the opening of the new program on Wednesday in downtown New Haven and celebrated the effort as a significant expansion of the net. state social security.

The state government, they said, has already raised more than $ 300 million for the program through a new payroll tax that is deducted from employee paychecks. That money, which could reach over $ 410 million by the end of January, should be enough to kickstart the program and help keep it solvent in the long run, they said.

The opening of the registration process comes more than two years after the Democrat-controlled legislature and Lamont passed a sought-after family and medical leave law in 2019.

“We’re excited to offer this to workers in the state of Connecticut,” said Andrea Barton Reeves, CEO of the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority.

Many Democratic politicians in New Haven called the paid vacation a significant improvement in the lives of low-income workers and middle-class workers who cannot always afford to quit their jobs to care for loved ones. .

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, a Democrat, said the rollout of the paid vacation program was proof of the state’s “family” policies. The benefits the state now offers, she said, should help workers avoid impossible choices between keeping their jobs and income or caring for a newborn baby or aging parent.

It’s a dilemma that people shouldn’t be faced with in a developed country like the United States, said Senate Speaker Martin Looney D-New Haven. Yet Connecticut is only the eighth state in the country to adopt a paid family and medical leave program.

During the Legislature Debate in 2019, Looney said there were lawmakers opposed to passing the paid vacation bill as a needless expansion of state bureaucracy. But now that the program is up and running, Looney has argued it will show state government can and must play a role in improving people’s lives.

“Government has a role to play in enlightened social policy,” Looney said, “and this is one of those times.”

Josh Geballe, who is the COO of Lamont, pointed out that it is very difficult to create a whole new social program from scratch, especially one as complicated as paid family and medical leave. But he stressed that the state had done just that in less than two years.

“It’s in the budget. He’s on time, ”Lamont told a crowd of reporters in New Haven.

A Republican leader in the Legislature, however, warned Democratic lawmakers not to celebrate too early. Rep. Vincent Candelora, the Republican House leader, said it was too early for heads of state to ‘take a victory lap’ as none of the requests for paid family and medical leave have yet been processed.

“Let’s see what the expected growth pains are and, more importantly, what the impact of the program will be on companies that are already struggling to find people to fill the vacancies,” Candelora said.

Anyone who wants to enroll in the paid vacation program can do so by phone, email, fax, mail, or through an online website. And the first claimants could see their benefits start arriving in late January, state officials say.

Representative Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, is hopeful that an additional line of protection for workers in Connecticut will help boost worker morale and the state’s economy.

The coronavirus pandemic, other lawmakers added, has shown exactly how many workers need the additional safety the program can offer.

“We gave people something they really needed,” said Senator Julie Kushner, D-Danbury.

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