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Justice for paraprofessionals at last

“This is a great day for all paraprofessionals in Connecticut,” said Shellye Davis, Co-President of Hartford Federation of Paraprofessionals Locall 2221, 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 have been 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 allows 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 Davis. “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 and CSEA, 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.

“This is a great victory for our members,” said Sharon Palmer, president of AFT Connecticut. “It is a shining example of the positive impact our union can have on the legislative process.”

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