Editorials from around New England
Editorials from around New England:
Connecticut’s union-backed Working Families Party (WFP) is excited by news from north of the state’s border. The Massachusetts legislature has passed paid family-and-medical-leave legislation, and Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, signed it Thursday. Before Gov. Baker affixed his signature, Lindsay Farrell, WFP’s executive director, told CT News Junkie, “Once this is signed into law, we will be surrounded by states that have paid family leave.” Connecticut has offered unpaid leave since 1990.
Connecticut should not emulate Massachusetts. The paid-leave path is too risky, in light of Connecticut’s struggles.
In recent years, the Connecticut legislature has considered a proposal that would create a paid family-and-medical-leave trust fund that would be administered by the state Department of Labor (DOL). Workers in the public and private sectors would contribute one half of 1 percent of their weekly pay to the fund. Each worker would be allowed to tap it for “12 work weeks of family leave compensation . or a combination of family and medical leave compensation,” as Hearst Connecticut Media Group reported this spring.
This legislation never has made it out of the legislature. During this year’s regular session – which ended May 9 – it was approved by the Labor and Public Employees Committee, but failed to advance. Early on, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that in all likelihood, the votes would not be there for it to pass the full legislature.
While workers themselves would cover the direct costs of these benefits, the legislation nonetheless is bad news. As we noted in an April 9 editorial, it would, among other things, almost certainly necessitate expanding DOL’s payroll and leave employers on the hook for the “non-wage benefits” of their on-leave employees. Connecticut’s fiscal crisis shows no signs of abating,