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Senate OKs bill to study family medical leave insurance

Hartford – The Senate on Friday passed by a 22-12 vote a bill that establishes a task force to study family medical leave insurance.

The task force must study the feasibility of creating an insurance program to provide short-term benefits to workers who are unable to work because of pregnancy, birth of a child, non-work related illness or injury or because they need to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent.

“This is a good start for Connecticut to look at providing some mechanism for protecting people from economic disaster,” said state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, who led the bill through the Senate. “Women on maternity leave or anyone facing a long-term illness, without any income, they are just headed toward the poverty rolls. This bill will stop that from happening.”

The task force must submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by Oct. 1, 2014.

The bill (House Bill 6553), passed along party lines in the Senate and was passed in the House earlier this month. It now moves to the governor for his signature.

The federal Family Medical Leave Act provides certain employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave for issues such as the birth of a child, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or if the employee has a serious health condition.

So far, California and New Jersey have family leave insurance programs.

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