BY: Citizens Count
The New Hampshire House voted in favor of a state-run family and medical leave program last week.
The bill, HB 628, creates a program that covers roughly two-thirds of an employee’s wages after childbirth, adoption, or a serious illness in the family.
The money in HB 628
The family and medical leave insurance in HB 628 is funded by a 0.67% tax on each employee’s wages. However, employees could choose to opt out of the program.
An employee would be eligible for up to six weeks of leave after paying into the program for six months.
The state would have to cover start-up costs for the program, about $14 million.
Support for HB 628
Supporters argue that a family and medical leave program will help attract younger workers to the state that plan on starting a family. Family and medical leave will also help older employees who need to care for aging parents.
“This is a unique New Hampshire program that is viable, sustainable and will be there for New Hampshire working families in times of medical and family need. It will also be an incentive to help employers bring the best and most talented workers to New Hampshire.”
- Rep. Mary Gile (D-Concord)
Opponents of HB 628
Many Republicans voted against HB 628 due to concern that the tax on wages will not cover costs. In particular, by allowing employees to opt-out, the state cannot predict how much revenue the program will generate.
“This is an incredibly bad gamble for the state and the people we are trying to help. If we don’t get enough participation, the math won’t work; the money won’t be there; and all of you will have to pay for this.”
- Rep. Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford)
HB 628 now heads to the Finance committee for a look at funding. After that it will come up for a third vote in the House.
Do you support a state-run family and medical leave program? Share your opinion in the comments below.