School Paras Applaud New FMLA Law
Para FMLA Bill Signing with Gov. Malloy.
School paraprofessionals in Connecticut achieved long overdue rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act 12-43 during a ceremony Aug. 3 at the State Capitol.
“This is a good day for all paraprofessionals in Connecticut,” said Council 4 Secretary and Local 1522 President Anna Montalvo, who attended the bill signing with Gov. Malloy, Lt. Governor Wyman, Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Acting Labor Commissioner Dennis Murphy and several legislators. “I hope this law sets a precedent for all states.”
FMLA allows workers time off to care for themselves or family members when they are ill. But paraprofessionals were unable to qualify for FMLA because as 10-month employees they fell short of the 1,250 annual work hours required under law.
P.A. 12-43 corrects this injustice and let paraprofessionals receive the same FMLA benefits that other workers receive if they work 950 hours a year.
“It’s only fair that paraprofessionals have the same access to FMLA that other employees have,” said Montalvo, whose bargaining unit includes more than 400 paraprofessionals in the Bridgeport school system. “No worker should fear losing their job because they need time to take care of themselves, their children or another family member.”
A coalition of labor unions that represent paraprofessionals, including Council 4, AFT Connecticut, CEUI, CSEA and the AFL-CIO, successfully lobbied for passage of the law during the 2012 legislative session. The bill gained unanimous approval in the Senate and passed the House of Representatives 132-9.
Council 4 Legislative Advocate Brian Anderson called the enactment of the Para FMLA bill “an example of the positive outcome we can achieve at the State Capitol through member engagement and grass-roots activism.”