Paid Family Medical Leave Has Broad Support in CT, Survey Shows

Eighty-two percent of registered Connecticut voters age 45-plus and a similar majority of voters age 25-plus, 83 percent, support a paid family medical leave plan now being considered by the state legislature, according to a recent survey by AARP Research.AARP-CT-logo The large majority is also present across the ideological spectrum, with 94 percent of registered Democrats, 79 percent of independents and 68 percent of Republicans indicating their support for state paid family medical leave to support Connecticut workers and family caregivers.

pie chartOne-thousand state voters age 25-plus were asked two questions about the paid family medical initiative, whether they supported such a plan, and whether they would support political candidates who did.

Among the 83 percent over age 45 who said they supported a paid family medical leave plan, 65 percent indicted they strongly supported such a plan, which would give employees an opportunity to contribute to and utilize a limited amount of paid leave from work to care for themselves or a loved one who is recovering from a serious medical condition.

“Connecticut voters overwhelmingly support paid family leave for workers,” said Nora Duncan, AARP CT state director. “We urge lawmakers to give serious consideration to passage of SB 221, An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave, in the remaining weeks of the 2016 legislative session. Voters are clearly interested in this policy and will make it a part of their considerations at the ballot box this fall.”

Asked if they would support a candidate for state elections who worked to implement a paid family leave plan that included working caregivers, 74 percent indicated their support, with half saying they would strongly support such a candidate. chart 2

SB 221 would create a statewide system of paid family and medical leave for workers needing time off to care for themselves, an ill loved one or a new baby. The system that’s being suggested would be fully funded by employees with no employer contribution. According to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the cost to Connecticut employees would be very low at just about one half of one percent of someone’s income.

Nearly half (46 percent) of registered voters in Connecticut ages 45-plus say they are currently providing or have provided unpaid caregiving to an adult loved one.  Among them, two in three (63 percent) say they have been employed either full or part time while providing that care, the survey found.

Versions of paid family medical leave laws have been approved in California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington.  California's law took effect in 2004, New Jersey's in 2009 and Rhode Island's in 2014.  Washington's has yet to take effect.