Taking advantage of a quiet day at the state Capitol, female proponents of a bill that would require companies with more than 50 employees to offer up to five days of paid sick time said it’s an issue that disproportionately impacts women.
In an attempt to keep the controversial issue in the spotlight, a group of women gathered at the state Capitol Wednesday morning to offer their perspective on the pending legislation.
Elizabeth Caferella, vice president of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Organization for Women, said during a low risk pregnancy like hers it’s necessary to see a doctor once a month during the first trimester, twice a month in the second trimester, and every week for the last four weeks.
“Inevitably some of these appointments are going to take place during the work day,” Caferella said. “Without paid sick days it would be nearly impossible to get the care essential during pregnancy.”
Paula Broderick, a sexual assault survivor, said when she fled her abuser who had raped her and kept her captive for three days she had to call out sick from work. She said she didn’t have any paid time off.
“It was very difficult to lose money at a time when I desperately needed it,“ she said.
Sen. Edith Prague, a Democrat from Columbia and the bill’s main proponent, said she doesn’t understand why anybody would oppose this legislation because “this is the right thing to do.”
“It is beyond me why there’s so much talk about it being bad for business when 57 percent of employers already do it,” Prague said.
But the business community is opposed to it and so are many lawmakers.
“This is a job killing bill,” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, said on ’Business Day’ at the Capitol last month.
In a year when everyone agrees job growth and job creation is the most important issue facing the state, Democrats are introducing “unfriendly business mandates,” he said.
The issue has also cropped up in the gubernatorial race pitting the two top Democrats in the race on opposite sides of the issue.
Proponents of the bill have been unsuccessful in getting it passed through both chambers of the General Assembly several years in a row. If Connecticut passed the bill this year, it would be the first state to do so.