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Photo of Senator Terry Gerratana.

STATE SENATOR

Terry Gerratana

Healthy Families, Healthy Communities

Fighting for Earned Family Medical Leave, Pay Equity and Increasing the Minimum Wage

On International Women's Day, I joined with many of my Democratic colleagues in the General Assembly, students, mothers, workers and advocates to push for Connecticut to adopt an Earned Family Medical Leave law, a Pay Equity law and an increase in the minimum wage.

EFML

Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 5387 each propose to establish a system that provides critically needed earned family and medical leave benefits to individuals employed in Connecticut. Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 5387 provide for up to 12 weeks of paid leave to qualifying employees, at 100% of salary up to a cap of $1000 per week. The United States is very much in the minority of developed nations that do not explicitly provide employees with the ability to take such paid leave.

Both Senate Bill 15 and House Bill 5386 are critically important measures to help close the wage gap here in Connecticut. While there have been efforts in the past to combat this issue, here in Connecticut women are still earning 83 cents to every dollar that their male counterparts make. This results in an annual wage gap of nearly $11,000. The gender pay gap only increases in the case of Latino and African-American women, the former earning 54 cents on the dollar and the latter 63 cents on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts.

House Bill 5388, An Act Concerning a Fair Minimum Wage, seeks to gradually increase the minimum wage in Connecticut from its current $10.10 to $15.00 per hour, over the course of the next three years. Thereafter the wage would be indexed to rise at the rate of inflation. Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut workers are struggling each and every day to support themselves and their families. According to a December 2016 report by the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board, at least 20 percent of Connecticut’s workforce--336,000 workers--earn less than $15 an hour.