Will we have paid medical leave in Connecticut?  

In the current legislative session in the first half of 2017 there is talk about enacting a system of paid medical leave in Connecticut.  Here is some basic information about the issue.  I will leave it to you to decide whether you like it or not.  

What is medical leave?

Medical leave has been part of the typical workplace since the early 1990s when the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed.  Medical leave is generally unpaid leave, not paid leave.  The purpose of the FMLA was to protect the job, not to pay employees for not working.  Of course, an employee can use their paid time off such as vacation time or sick time (if they had any).  For the most part, however, medical leave has always been unpaid.  As unpaid leave, some employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck find it difficult to make ends-meat when they are forced to go out on medical leave.  

What is the perceived problem to be fixed by the bill?

There are two public policy objectives associated with this bill.  The first is to provide pay to people who are forced to take time off for an illness.  The concept is simple: We all get sick sometimes, or are all forced to take time off to care for someone else like a family member.  When we are forced to take time off--unpaid, we suffer financial hardship.  Since the need for leave happens to everyone, then we should all be permitted to take time off without losing pay.  

The second perceived problem to the fixed in this bill is that women bear the brunt of most leave emergencies, which puts them at a disadvantage in the workplace.  In most instances when someone is forced to sacrifice, and care for a sick family member it is the women, and not the man.  In this sense, our culture still discriminates againt woman.  It is simply unfair to women in the workplace to be the ones to sacrifice by becoming the caregiver when a family member becomes ill.  It puts woman at a disadvantage in the workplace.  They earn less, they get promoted less, and it is generally unfair to women.

Self funded and administered by the government

The primary question surrounding the bill is how to fund it.  The proposal is not employer funded.  The bill creates a fund that is funded by employee contributions into the system that is administered by the government.  It is similar to how the unemployment compensation system works only unemployment is funded by the employer while this one is funded by the employee. 

Where to get help for cases involving the Family and Medical Leave Act

In our office we handle cases involving the Family and Medical Leave Act including denial of rights claims, which are cases brought because the employer denied you the right to take medical leave.  We also handle FMLA cases involving retaliation claims, which are cases brought because you have been fired or otherwise retaliated against because you took leave, and your employer retaliated against you for taking leave.  

For help, contact the employment lawyers at The Bartinik Law Firm, P.C., 100 Fort Hill Road, Ste. 2, Groton, Connecticut at 888-717-4211 or 860-445-8521.


Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut
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