That “Paid Family and Medical Leave” plan is inching its way toward a vote at the State Capitol, but one final detail is holding things up.
Who is going to administer Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits seems to be the final unresolved part of this proposal.
Governor Ned Lamont is looking for his first major legislative victory within the next few weeks as negotiations with top state lawmakers on a Paid Family and Medical Leave plan continue to move forward. The Speaker of the House said he expects to put the proposal up for a vote within the next two weeks.
It’s the plan that would tax the wages of everyone, one half of one percent, in order to create a fund to pay for up to 12 weeks off from work when having a new baby, or caring for an elderly parent, or your own lengthy illness.
On Monday, union leaders representing employees at the state Department of Labor presented a petition at the Governor’s office urging that any Paid Family Leave program be administered by them and not be outsourced to an insurance company as had been suggested by the Governor.
Marsha Tulloch works at the Department of Labor and is Vice President of Local 269 of AFSCME and said, “It just doesn’t make sense to me why we wouldn’t administer a program that we’re subject material experts in.”
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But the Connecticut Capitol is surrounded in Hartford by the world headquarters of some of the largest insurance companies in the nation, so it might not be hard to find one to administer a Paid Family Leave insurance-type program.
“I’m confident that there are members of the insurance community that would be interested in taking a look at it,” said Eric George of the Insurance Association of Connecticut.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berllin), said he has no preference on how the benefit would be administered.
He added, “I don’t care. Public, private, let’s find out what works, let’s get the product out to the people that need it.”
Governor Lamont on Monday was echoing that view. It doesn’t matter to him, as long as it’s the most efficient way.
He said, “I think this is important. This is about what the workforce of the 21st century is going to look like. I think we’re 98 percent of the way there. I know the other two percent’s complicated, we’re going to get it passed.”
Cost estimates for administering a Paid Family and Medical Leave program are around $5 million.