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Poll: Knowing some details, 82% support paid family leave program

April 2, 2019 GMT

Hartford — A poll that BLS Research and Consulting released Tuesday on behalf of the nonprofit Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund shows that when informed of some details, 82 percent of Connecticut voters support the legislative plan for paid family and medical leave.

This was in response to the prompt that the plan “would allow employees up to 12 weeks of paid time off from work if they need to care for a new baby, a seriously ill family member (including an injured service member), or recover from a personal illness. This plan would be funded through very small payroll deductions,” which would be a 0.5 percent payroll tax.

CWEALF leads the Connecticut Campaign for Paid Family Leave, a coalition of more than 75 organizations, which held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the state Capitol.

BLS founder Brittany Stalsburg said the online poll was of 602 people who were targeted based on voter registration and census numbers, “to ensure that our sample demographics accurately reflect the real population of Connecticut voters.”

Of the respondents, 38 percent are Democratic, 21 percent are Republican, and 40 percent are independent or unaffiliated. Knowing the details, the share that were either somewhat or strongly in favor ranged from 94 percent among Democrats to 73 percent among Republicans.

Both Senate Bill 1 and the governor’s bill have been voted out of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, though no Republican committee members voted in favor of either.

The Senate bill allows for 100 percent wage replacement — capped at the Social Security limit — up to 900 or 13.6 million prior to fiscal year 2022, and 20 million in bonds, for an estimated debt service of about $30 million.

Actuarial estimates of how many people would take leave — which is only for certain reasons and must be approved by the Department of Labor — and for how long show that the 0.5 percent payroll tax would be sufficient to cover administrative costs. The bill also contains provisions if solvency were at risk.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, expects that most people will need to take leave at some point, whether it’s for childbirth or a health problem or caregiving for a family member. For those who don’t, he compared the fund to those who pay car insurance but never end up in an accident.

The Office of Fiscal Analysis has not yet completed a fiscal note on the governor’s bill, as it was only referred to the office on Monday.