New survey reveals how small businesses feel about paid family and medical leave

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Mark Gillman owns a small business, which employs right around 20 people. He supports legislation that would bring paid family and medical leave to Connecticut.

“It helps me to compete with the larger businesses that already offer paid leave. I can’t afford to do that and it gives my employees peace of mind, ” said Gillman, who owns Cato Farms in Colchester.

Right now the bill is before the house and senate. Here’s how it would work – a percentage of your paycheck would go into a state trust fund.

“A study found that it’s about half a percent, so it’s very low,” said Catherine Bailey, with Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund. “A few dollars as week and that would go into a pool and in their time of need they can draw from it.”

Under the plan, a person can take up to 12 weeks off and get up to $1,000 a week. That money can only be used for paid leave — nothing else.

The plan is getting a great deal of support. BLS Research and Consulting, in East Haven, polled 243 small businesses across the state.

“And we found that about 77% of them, more than three-quarters of small business owners in Connecticut, support the paid family leave legislation,” said Brittany Stalsburg who’s with BLS.

But some people have concerns when it comes to cost.

“What we oppose is the across-the-board mandate,” said Eric Gjede, with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. “That’s expensive for employees because the state is going to confiscate a portion of your paycheck every single pay period. It’s expensive for businesses and it’s expensive for taxpayers.”

With the legislative session set to end next week, supporters of paid leave are hoping the bill will pass – putting Connecticut in line with other states that already offer it to workers.

“People never know when they’re going to need time off to care for a family member or if they get diagnosed with a serious illness and need time away from work,” said Bailey.



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