It's hard to believe but it's true: Parents in the United States are not legally entitled to paid family leave. Democrats and Republicans alike are pushing for it, but America remains the only member country of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) without paid leave.
While this holds true on a national level, Connecticut has passed a game-changing bill to offer paid time off to parents and caregivers in that state.
The bill was passed late last week and Governor Ned Lamont reportedly plans to sign the bill soon. At that point it'll be official: Starting in 2021, Connecticut residents will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid medical leave upon giving birth, while caring for a family member, or when dealing with personal illnesses.
According to The Huffington Post, the state house passed the bill 79-69. It will reportedly be funded by a 0.5% payroll tax and will represent the country's most generous policy. Low-wage workers will have 95% of their wages covered under this policy—by contrast, workers in New York have 55% wage replacement.
Previously, Connecticut workers were entitled to up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave, per an act passed in 2015.
"We all agreed on the need to pass this landmark support for working families so they don't have to choose between the job they need and the family they love, or their own health," Lamont writes in a Twitter post on the issue. "This is the right thing to do for our state, and I'm grateful that we were able to come to an agreement and do what is best for the people of Connecticut."
This will make Connecticut the seventh U.S. state to offer paid parental leave.