REGION – The Vermont House on May 2 gave preliminary approval to the Paid Family Leave insurance bill on a voice vote.
The bill, H.196, enables Vermonters to take time off from work to care for an infant or an elderly relative without balancing that family need against the necessity of a paycheck. It creates a Family Leave Insurance Program within the Department of Labor that will provide employees with up to six weeks of paid family leave through modest employee contributions.
“This bill is an important measure in protecting the rights of employees and strengthening families and communities” said General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee Chairwoman, Representative Helen Head. “It gives Vermonters economic security and makes our state an even more attractive place to live, work, and raise a family. This bill safeguards the interests of Vermont workers as well as the economy of the state as we work to ensure a strong and healthy future for the next generation of Vermonters.”
“We are prioritizing legislation that ensures Vermonters are on the path forward to a healthy future and strong economy,” noted House Speaker Mitzi Johnson. “Paid family leave is a crucial insurance plan for Vermonters. This bill bridges the economic gap new parents and caretakers of elderly relatives face when they are forced to choose between caring for their family and earning a paycheck. In addition to allowing parents time with their new child, this bill relieves pressure on both the scarce infant care resources and the cost to the state of our child care subsidies.”
“Additionally, paid family leave is important benefit to the small businesses that make our economy strong. As a small business state, Vermont competes with other cities and states that have more opportunities for higher wage work. A statewide family leave insurance program will help attract and retain young professionals and families. This bill will also reduce turnover costs that small businesses face and will stabilize and grow our Vermont small businesses” said Assistant Majority Leader and small business owner, Representative Tristan Toleno.
The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.