Letter: Paid family leave law overdue

To the editor,

What do Facebook, Zillow, Nestle, Spotify and Netflix all have in common? They are all companies, who in recent years, have chosen to expand their employee leave policies. Backed by study after study showing the positive benefits to employees, families and businesses, policy makers in Hartford are closer than ever to passing a new paid family leave law in Connecticut.

It is long overdue.

The United States is the only high-income country in the world that does not offer paid leave after the birth of a child. Many countries offer paid family leave to their citizens. In Chile, workers receive 30 weeks of paid family leave. In Japan it’s 58. And, in Australia workers get 60 weeks.

Offering paid family leave has proven to have a positive impact on workers and companies alike.  Studies show that workers that have paid family leave are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety and are more likely to breastfeed their infants (providing numerous health benefits). Paid family leave laws also reduce stress on families and decreases the likelihood of families falling into poverty. Businesses also benefit because companies that offer paid family leave are more likely to recruit and retain talented employees and experience less employee turnover. Companies with paid family leave also report more employee work satisfaction which can boost productivity.

If the state really values families and children then it needs to adopt public policies like paid family leave in Connecticut. The research is clear. Many major companies get it. Many countries around the world get it. It’s good public policy.

I urge Connecticut’s elected officials to not let this opportunity go by and pass a paid family leave law today.

Jorge Cabrera