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Photo of Senator Gary Winfield.


Gary Winfield

A Passion For Progress

Earned Family Medical Leave Passes First Legislative Hurdle

This week the Labor Committee voted to draft Senate Bill 1, "An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave," the first procedural hurdle needed to pass earned family and medical leave into law.

This is a top priority for me and I am committed to moving this bill forward to provide relief to families across our state.

Senator Winfield.

Life throws us many curveballs; people get sick, have children, and with an aging baby-boomer generation, more and more people in our workforce will have to take time off to care for their elderly parents. No one should go into financial distress just because they need to leave work for a few weeks to recover from an illness, care for a new baby, or care for a sick family member.

On a personal note, this issue hits very close to home. Just a few days ago, on February 11th, my wife and I welcomed our baby girl and boy into the world. My twins were born at just 34 weeks, so they'll be spending some time in the NICU growing stronger before they can go home. If you're a parent, you know I want to spend as much time as possible with them, encouraging them, cheering them on, and developing a bond with them as a father.

Unfortunately in our country, we don't think of fathers when we think of which parent needs time off to spend with their newborns. I truly get this issue and will be fighting with all that I have to help mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, wives and husbands get a little time off to deal with the issues that being a part of a family can send our way, without having to sacrifice their ability to support their families.

The United States is well behind the rest of the world when it comes to earned family medical leave policies, In fact, Papua New Guinea and the United States are the only countries in the world without paid family leave. If Connecticut wants to retain young people and attract top talent, passing an earned family medical leave bill will give Connecticut a competitive advantage and send a message that our state values its workers and is a great place to live and raise a family.

Because it is so necessary and beneficial to our modern workforce, Democrats will work with employees and employers to fight for sensible earned family medical leave legislation.

This is just the beginning of a long, thorough legislative process, and we have more hurdles to overcome. Now that the committee has voted to draft Senate Bill 1, the Legislative Commissioner's Office will begin to write language for the bill and the committee will plan a public hearing.

I encourage you to submit testimony in support of paid family medical leave. The dates and times for all upcoming public hearings will be available at

You can also contact my office in order to become involved in advocating for the proposal.