The Connecticut Campaign for Paid Family Leave has been raising concerns about outsourcing of the state paid leave program’s claims administration since Gov. Ned Lamont announced the pick last week.
Connecticut paid-leave benefits begin in January, but the advocacy campaign is concerned that having a private company, Aflac, as claims administrator will lead to individuals having denied or delayed access to the program.
Madeline Granato, policy director for the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, said it would affect folks who need paid family and medical leave the most.
“Especially low-wage workers and workers of color,” Granato pointed out. “Who, I will note, are on the front lines of COVID-19, still to this day, without any access to leave, and need this benefit more than ever.”
Granato pointed to the U.S. health-care system as an example of how privatizing a service has allowed companies to deny services to individuals, or profit off of basic needs. Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.
Aflac will take applications and determine eligibility, and also oversee paid family and medical-leave benefits.
Granato emphasized advocates are hopeful that there will be oversight over the claims process, so all eligible individuals have the right to paid leave benefits.
“We hold the belief that no private entity should profit off of what should be a human right,” Granato asserted. “Folks deserve access to the comprehensive benefits that are promised to them under the law that so many folks worked so hard to pass in 2019.”
She added Connecticut’s Paid Leave Program is still on track to begin despite COVID-19.