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Maddie Granato's picture

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re well aware that the United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid parental leave program. Across the country, 88 percent of working women do not have access to even a single day of paid maternity leave. In the absence of paid leave, nearly 1 in 4 women return to work within just two weeks of giving birth.

I repeat: nearly 1 in 4 new moms return to work within just two weeks of giving birth.

Women who return to work after paid leave are less likely to receive public assistance in the year following the birth of a child. Paid leave also impacts the gender wage gap: stepping out of the workforce - no matter how briefly - negatively impacts a woman’s earnings and reduces retirement savings.

No one should be forced to choose between the family they love, their own health and the job they need to make ends meet. When a worker is seriously ill, caring for a loved one who is seriously ill, or celebrating the birth of a new baby, the absolute last worry on their mind should be missing a paycheck or falling behind on bills and medical expenses.

In Connecticut, we’re closer than ever to passing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program for all workers who need to take time off to care for themselves or an ill loved one, or welcome a new baby. The 2017 legislative session marks the third consecutive year that the CT legislature has introduced a paid family and medical leave bill. We’re hoping the third time’s the charm!

There’s a little over a month left in our state’s legislative session, which ends on June 7, 2017. That means we still have a little over a month to organize, make calls, send emails, and share our stories. This Thursday, May 11, the Campaign for Paid Family Leave is hosting a Mother’s Day themed Lobby and Action Day. We’ll be at the State Capitol from 12-2 pm on Thursday to speak directly with legislators and express why paid family and medical leave is so critical to women and families in our state.

For those who can’t make it to Hartford Thursday afternoon, there are also plenty of ways to show support and solidarity for paid leave online and through social media. Sign up to join our Thunderclap before we go live at 3 pm on Thursday to show our strength in numbers. Add our #PaidLeave4CT filter to your Facebook and Twitter profile pictures. Contact your state legislators to tell them why paid leave matters to you. and share your story  If you’ve already completed these actions, encourage your friends to do the same.

Women in Connecticut can’t wait any longer for paid family and medical leave. The time is now. I hope you’ll join us!

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