Posted on June 4, 2019 by jdooley
HARTFORD – State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80) voted against a state-run family medical leave program that will be funded by the working people of Connecticut.
Rep. Mastrofrancesco along with her fellow Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus members proposed, on behalf of the entire Republican caucus, an alternative that would provide important medical leave coverage for families without burdening individual taxpayers with a mandatory new payroll tax.
Unfortunately, the measure was defeated on a mostly party-line vote of 84-61.
Instead, the Democrat plan for paid family and medical leave that passed the House mandates employers offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave to their employees with a maximum benefit of 60 times minimum wage, which is currently $606 per week. To fund the program, virtually all employees will be compelled to pay one-half of one per cent of their gross earnings into a new state-run fund, whether they intend to ever take the leave or not. The payout is tied to federal benchmarks so the amount paid to employees taking leave will increase automatically when those benchmarks rise.
“At a time we should be reducing the size of government the majority party and the governor instead pushed through a bill creating a brand new state program funded on the backs of the working men and women of Connecticut. I oppose the government getting involved in an employee-employer issue that should be resolved with government intervention,” said Rep. Mastrofrancesco.
Offered as an affordable alternative to the mandatory payroll tax plan offered by Democrats, the Rep. Mastrofrancesco and the Conservative Caucus model would have the state’s Insurance Department develop a voluntary, free-market plan and make it available to both employees and employers. This alternative would treat paid family and medical leave as an employment benefit, not a state mandate. Instead of a mandate, employers would be empowered to offer the benefit to employees as they do other types of insurance. It would also empower employees to purchase the coverage on the individual insurance market if they found it beneficial to their particular family circumstances.
Making the program an employment benefit instead of a tax on employee pay will reduce the burden on those employees who cannot or will not use the leave, and does not force Connecticut’s businesses to shoulder ever more government regulation and expense. Compelling all employees to participate would not make the program solvent. Paying one half of one percent of salary and receiving twelve weeks of paid leave per year simply does not add up.