Thursday, August 18, 2022

Andrea Barton Reeves: Connecticut Leads on Paid Family and Medical Leave

Andrea Barton Reeves
Andrea Barton Reeves (photo supplies)

*While we often don’t realize it, it’s not always the more significant factors that make it harder to lessen a vast disparity. The smaller things we don’t have access to often largely contribute to the difference. For example, 77% of workers nationwide don’t have access to a defined paid family leave or caregiving benefit.

Imagine suffering an injury, caring for a parent battling an illness, or recovering from giving birth with every day you spend away from work widening the gap between you and financial stability.

As the inaugural CEO of Connecticut Paid Leave, my team and I have worked for the past two-and-a-half years to bring the people of Connecticut a paid family and medical leave program that will financially support them through significant life events. While the program has been used in every county in our state and for every qualifying reason available, it is also clear that Connecticut’s Black and Brown communities are in extreme need of access to this kind of income relief. In Connecticut, 57% of Black households and 63% of Hispanic households live below the ALICE* threshold, meaning above the Federal Poverty Line but below the state’s basic cost of living threshold.

Since childhood, I’ve felt a calling to help and protect underserved communities. Throughout my career, from my time as a private practice attorney to the CEO of a non-profit organization serving adults with intellectual disabilities, my life’s work has been to make a difference for those who don’t have as many opportunities as I do. At the helm of the CT Paid Leave Authority, I can do incredibly fulfilling work, making a real, positive impact for Connecticut employees, especially people of color who desperately need the option of paid leave to take care of themselves and their families.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Floyd Mayweather Brought to Tears – He was Overcome with Emotion At Boxing Hall of Fame Induction | WATCH

Andrea Barton Reeves
Andrea Barton Reeves – photo supplied

At CT Paid Leave, we offer income replacement benefits for Connecticut employees who need to take time away from work to address personal and family health needs. Childbirth or major surgery might be common scenarios that come to mind when thinking about paid leave benefits. However, CT Paid Leave also supports survivors of domestic violence, foster and adoptive families who are bonding with their new children, or even individuals taking the time they need to recover from a mental health crisis.

Our goal is not only to make a change in the state of Connecticut but also to help spark a movement for national change. The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave for various family or medical reasons.

However, not all employees are eligible, as there is a specific set of criteria that both the employer and the employee must meet for the employee to be eligible. With broader, income-replacing programs like CT Paid Leave, people no longer must make extreme choices when they or someone they love is sick because they can’t afford to stay home and be without any income.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t offer a national paid leave program. The ability to take care of your health or care for a loved one without forfeiting your salary should be an option for every American. If you are in a state that doesn’t offer paid leave benefits, we encourage you to contact your state lawmakers to discuss changes. We continue to advocate for paid leave, hoping that others will see its importance and demand these benefits be available to everyone.

* ALICE-2020-Executive-Summary_-8.25.2020-1.pdf (ctunitedway.org)

Chief Executive Officer 
Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority 
Mar 2020 – Present2 years 3 months 
Hartford, Connecticut, United States 
As the inaugural CEO (starting in March 2020), built Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Authority from its inception to launch during a global pandemic.

Envisioned, planned and executed every aspect of a new quasi-governmental state agency. Connecticut’s paid family leave law is one of the most generous and comprehensive in the country.

Andrea Barton Reeves
Andrea Barton Reeves – photo supplied

Andrea Barton Reeves was appointed as the inaugural CEO of the State of Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority (PFMLIA)  on January 23, 2020. Prior to her appointment, she served as President and CEO of Harc, Inc., a large non-profit supporting people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Here is where to find her on social media:
Andrea Barton Reeves | LinkedIn
Andrea Barton Reeves (@abrnyls) / Twitter
Andrea Barton Reeves | Facebook
Andrea Barton Reeves (@abartonreeves)

YOU MAY LIKE

SEARCH

THE CULTURECALENDAR: WHAT'S NEW & BLACK ON TV

- Advertisement -

TRENDING