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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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On International Women's Day, Sen. Osten Calls for Earned Family and Medical Leave, Pay Equity, Minimum Wage Hike

Calling for smart, progressive policies that will help create economic security for women and families across Connecticut, state Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today joined with her Democratic colleagues in the General Assembly, students, mothers, workers and advocates to push for Connecticut to adopt an Earned Family Medical Leave law, a Pay Equity law and an increase in the minimum wage.

Earlier this year, legislative Democrats unveiled their Democratic Values Agenda, aimed at supporting the middle class and creating economic opportunities for everyone; opening access to education; protecting women’s health care; keeping Connecticut residents healthy; supporting Connecticut’s hospitals; and preserving our democracy.

A major pillar of the Democrats’ legislative agenda this year is economic security for women and families.

“Raising the minimum wage here in Connecticut is popular with about two-thirds of state residents, especially women and people under age 50. They know the sheer impossibility, that treadmill-like feeling, of working two or three minimum wage jobs just to try and keep their heads above water,” Sen. Osten said. “This has got to change. If Connecticut legislators are truly as serious as they claim to be about building a workforce and serving their communities, then we will pass an increased minimum wage bill this year,”

“On this International Women’s Day, the women of Connecticut face significant inequities. Women are paid 79 cents to every dollar paid to men, experience sexual harassment in the workplace, earn an unlivable wage, and lack access to basic workplace supports such as paid family and medical leave,” said Catherine Bailey, Deputy Director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund. “Women can’t wait any longer for economic security—we need action now. We urge state lawmakers to pass legislation for paid family and medical leave and pay equity, to raise the minimum wage, and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.”

The press conference took place immediately before the start of the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee public hearing on Senate Bill 1, “An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave,” House Bill 5387, “An Act Concerning Paid Family Medical Leave,” Senate Bill 15, “An Act Concerning Fair and Equal Pay for Work,” and House Bill 5388, “An Act Concerning a Fair Minimum Wage.” Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 5387 each provide for up to 12 weeks of paid leave to qualifying employees, at 100 percent of salary up to a cap of $1,000 per week.

Senate Bill 15 and House Bill 5386 would prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s previous wages, preventing that employee from inquiring about another employee’s salary, or requiring employees to sign a waiver denying their right to disclose wages.

House Bill 5388 seeks to gradually increase the minimum wage in Connecticut from its current $10.10 to $15.00 an hour over the next three years; after that the minimum wage would be indexed to rise with the rate of inflation.






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