Connecticut lawmakers consider paid mental health days for workers
Stress and anxiety are hitting people hard, but should paid sick time include mental health days? Connecticut lawmakers explored that idea at a hearing Friday.
Workers News 12 Connecticut spoke to like the idea.
“I think it's very common nowadays that more people have mental issues,” said Johana Romero, of Norwalk.
Under a new bill, paid sick time would have to include "mental health wellness days.” Many companies already allow it on their own, but it is not required.
It's part of a wide-ranging package proposed by state Senate Democrats that also includes more suicide screenings in school, easier licensing for social workers and a new "behavioral health advocate" to resolve insurance disputes.
“Thirty-three percent of our members had to wait over 30 minutes just to talk to someone in an insurance company,” said Stephen Wanyczyk-Karp, the Connecticut chapter president of the National Association of Social Workers. “Seventy-six percent of providers have to contact a company multiple times to resolve an issue.”
Lawmakers already passed sweeping legislation last year. Now, students can take mental health days – and schools are getting more counselors. Some Republicans want to wait before spending even more money.
“Here we are talking about another children's mental health bill when we don't have any data on what we passed last year,” said state Rep. Gale Mastrofancesco (R-Wolcott). “So we're actually expanding on something. We don't even know if the other one had worked.”
Also, will employees abuse mental health sick days?
The state’s largest business group, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, is not opposing the legislation.
One business owner said she’s not worried.
“When you're not doing well mentally, you can't really focus on your job anyways, so I wouldn't want them to be working,” said Andrea Topalian, of Wilton.
Do you think paid sick time should include mental health wellness days? Take our News 12 Connecticut poll here.