Updated (5/24/2018): Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed H.196, the paid family and medical leave bill. Although the governor has been a vocal opponent to a paid family and medical leave program, VPIRG and allies had hoped he would heed the message of Vermont’s working families, small businesses, and public interest advocates who have demonstrated overwhelming support for this policy.
“There are far too many Vermonters who are living a single paycheck away from financial insecurity”, said Christina Fornaciari of VPIRG. “It’s a true shame to see the governor turn his back on the exact people he claims he wants to protect and attract to our state — working Vermonters, young families and small businesses.”
For more than two years, VPIRG has joined with allies in the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance coalition in advocating for a bill to establish a statewide paid family and medical leave program in Vermont (H.196).
On Friday, the Vermont House gave final approval to H.196 and the bill will now be heading to Governor Phil Scott’s desk.
H.196 would provide up to 12 weeks of leave time for employees needing to care for a new child, or 6 weeks to care for a seriously ill or injured loved one. Workers would contribute to the program and receive 70% of their salary (up to two times the livable wage) during their time off.
This bill is a step in the right direction towards protecting maternal health and well-being, building economic security for women and families, leveling the playing field for small businesses, and attracting young families to Vermont.
The fact is, nobody should have to decide between receiving a paycheck or caring for a loved one.
Unfortunately, Gov. Phil Scott has indicated that he is likely to veto this popular and necessary measure.
VPIRG is encouraging its members to call the governor at 1-800-649-6825 and urge him to sign H.196.
(Image source: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr – Creative Commons)