Daily Archives: February 7, 2018

2 posts

But wait. Don’t we already have paid family leave?

By Nichole Berklas

During the 2016 Connecticut legislative session, a paid family and medical leave act made significant progress to passage in the state. While it fell short, support continues to be high. But wait, you may ask. Doesn’t the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) already give us protection to take time off??

When the FMLA passed in Connecticut years ago, we were on the forefront of protecting workers who needed family and medical leaves. However, among other differences, FMLA protects leaves, but that protection is UNPAID.


This is the difference between being left in the wild to fend for yourself and having a map with snacks and water along the way to lead you back home.

While some employers do offer their employees paid leave, that offering is a personal decision by the employer, and neither universal nor a requirement.  FMLA does nothing to ensure that employees contemplating a leave will have a safety net of pay during their leave.  This often means workers are left choosing between their job/paycheck and their family.  This choice is neither sustainable nor healthy in Connecticut, where more than 70 percent of married couples with children under the age of 18 have both spouses in the workforce.

As the 2017 Connecticut Legislative session has just started, now is a perfect time to push for earned paid family and medical leave.  There are already states that have passed such legislation and have a history to give guidance on how paid leave acts work.  We need not reinvent nor invent the wheel.  We can see what has worked and the positive impacts such policies have made in other states.  Moreover, with much discussion in the local news over the last year about Connecticut’s need to attract and keep the skilled workforce of the next generation, the existence of a statewide program allowing employees to choose their families and themselves—without having to lose careers or face significant financial problems—is exactly the innovation the next generation (and the rest of us!) deserve and should demand.

Stay tuned for ways you can get involved to help make sure earned paid family leave passes this Legislative session.

Nichole Berklas serves as Connecticut NOW’s representative to the Connecticut Campaign for Paid Family Leave.


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ACTION ALERT: Virginia needs our help to pass the ERA!

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

– 24 words that could change the lives of women throughout the U.S.

Please send emails and postcards NOW

The Virginia Legislature – which meets ONLY in January and February — has until next Monday, Feb. 12, to decide which bills it will vote on before the 2018 session ends. Virginia NOW has asked us to help pressure VA House Speaker Kirk Cox and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment to bring ratification of the ERA to a vote, so VA can follow the lead of what Nevada did last March and bring our country one step closer to having the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the U.S. Constitution.

Why is this important? Click here for how the Washington-based ERA Coalition explains it.

Please send postcards and emails to Cox and Norment, telling them that by not bringing the ERA to a vote, they are holding Connecticut and the rest of the country hostage, as well as harming the women, children and families who would benefit economically, and in all aspects of life, if the ERA were to become national law.

Email and snail mail addresses:

  • Speaker of the House Kirk Cox,DelKCox@house.virginia.gov
  • The Honorable Kirk Cox, PO Box 406, Richmond, VA  23218
  • Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment:district03@senate.virginia.gov.
  • Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond, VA 23218

To learn more about the history of the ERA and how this Virginia vote can affect our entire nation, visit this great website, http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/index.htm, which will provide you with invaluable information.

Throughout 2018, Connecticut NOW will host free screenings of the award-winning documentary Equal Means Equal at locations across state. The film provides an unflinching look at how women are treated in the United States today. By following both real life stories and precedent setting legal cases, director Kamala Lopez discovers how outdated and discriminatory attitudes inform and influence seemingly disparate issues, from workplace matters to domestic violence, rape and sexual assault to the foster care system, the healthcare system and the legal system. Along the way, she reveals the inadequacy of present laws in place that claim to protect women, ultimately presenting a compelling and persuasive argument for the urgency of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

To ensure you have access to our most-recently-added Equal Means Equal screenings dates, please visit Connecticut NOW’s Facebook page.

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