Implementing a paid family and medical leave program in Vermont is taking steps closer to becoming a reality. The Department of Financial Regulation has approved coverages and rates for the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan, Gov. Phil Scott said Thursday.
Vermonters are one step closer to receiving job-protected leave to deal with the fallout of sexual and domestic violence as part of Democrats’ major paid leave bill, which passed through the House and into the Senate last month.
The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs on Tuesday morning heard testimony from sponsors of House Bill 66 and a representative of the Office of Legislative Counsel.
“The House of Representative is considering a bill that, instead of being voluntary, would impose a mandatory and regressive payroll tax on Vermonters, costing an estimated $117 million every year.”
Mostly Democrat lawmakers in the House Ways and Means Committee advanced a paid family and medical leave insurance program on Tuesday that is both larger in scope and cost than the program put forth by Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
House Democrats’ latest push for a paid leave bill comes with a new addition: It would provide paid time off for people experiencing sexual or domestic violence.
Earlier this month, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray attended and led a legislative summit at the Vermont Statehouse to discuss a “universal” and “equitable” paid family leave program for the state.
This is one way that Republicans can win back the middle. Now state workers know that it was the Republican governor, not the Democrat supermajority, who was the first one to be able to deliver on a plan to give them paid leave.
The governor announced Tuesday that the state has hired The Hartford to set up a new Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan, which is being pitched as a voluntary paid family and medical leave program to be fully implemented by 2025.
The Granite State Paid Family and Medical Leave Plan, a key part of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s agenda, will provide qualifying workers with 60% of their average weekly wage for up to six weeks per year. Sununu has billed the new voluntary paid leave law as “the first of its kind” in the nation.
“A statewide, private-market, truly voluntary paid leave plan does not exist in any other state, and New Hampshire is leading the way,” Sununu said in a statement.
“While the program was sold as a voluntary private insurance program, it is 100% taxpayer funded for the 11,000 state employees covered by it,” Rep. Andrew Prout, R-Hudson said. “This cost is not guaranteed to stay within the rosy forecasts predicted by its proponents and the taxpayers will be on the hook.”