HARTFORD -- The debate surrounding paid family medical leave got a lot more interesting.
Last minutes changes to the language of the original bill left some lawmakers with more questions than answers.
At 9 o’clock Tuesday morning, the Labor Committee was supposed to vote on a bill that would have sent paid family medical leave to the floor for a full vote. But last minute changes to the language caused the committee to hold open the vote until the end of the day.
The initiative would be 100 percent employee funded by deducting half a percent of your paycheck.
Supporters call it an insurance program, opponents call it a tax. The money would be used to establish a fund administered by the Department of Labor where as many as 100,000 CT workers a year can take up to 12 weeks off with full pay up to $1,000 a week for serious personal or family health concerns.
As drafted, the bill poses questions like what health concerns would qualify? And is the fund solvent?
The bill doesn’t contain language to prevent the fund from being raided or swept in a deficit. The half a percent payroll deduction applies regardless of what you earn, however in order to claim the benefit you have to make at least $2,325 a quarter — meaning some may be forced to pay into a benefit they’re not able to use.
You also are not eligible for the benefit if you are on unemployment or workman’s comp. The only employees exempt are state employees in a union. It’s also not clear what it would cost the state to administer the program.
If passed in its current form, the payroll deductions would begin July 1st of 2020 but the payouts wouldn’t begin until a year later.
Governor Ned Lamont supports paid family medical leave but hasn’t said if he supports this current bill. He may offer specifics for his own proposal in his Wednesday budget address.