State Senator Julie Kushner (D-24th) today reiterated her support for paid family and medical leave legislation in Connecticut.

Kushner represents Sherman, New Fairfield, Danbury and Bethel

“We have to make sure paid family and medical leave passes this year, because it’s something that’s so important to so many people,” Kushner said.

“When I was campaigning to be a state senator, I went door to door, I went to grocery stores, I went to polling sites - and the number one issue I talked about was paid family and medical leave,” she said.

“One thing I learned was that this is not a partisan issue,” she said. “This doesn’t just affect Democratic families or Republican families - this affects all of us.”

“And when you ask people about whether they want to have a state program like the one we are proposing today, the response is an overwhelming ‘yes,’” Kushner stated.

Sen. Kushner’s remarks came at a press conference in support of paid family leave that took place less than one hour before the public hearing on Senate Bill 1, which seeks to establish a paid family and medical leave system in Connecticut.

Sen. Kushner is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1 and is the Senate Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, where the family leave bill was heard.

More than six dozen people signed up to testify on Senate Bill 1 and other proposed legislation.

According to an October poll conducted by the AARP, 85 percent of Connecticut residents support providing paid leave to employees who take time off for family caregiving.

Half of the poll respondents said they had provided unpaid care for an adult loved one, and nearly 60 percent said they believe that taking unpaid time off from work had impacted their ability to save for retirement.

The poll surveyed 807 registered Connecticut voters age 50 and older and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Senate Bill 1 calls for the creation of a Family and Medical Leave insurance program in Connecticut offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave at a maximum of $1,000 per week per employee.

The program would be funded by an employee payroll tax not exceeding one-half of one percent.

The committee deadline for action on the bill is March 26.