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Family Medical Leave Program Gets Upvote In N.H. House

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House on Tuesday approved a bill that would create a family medical leave insurance program in the state.  

The measure--HB 628--would allow workers to voluntarily pay into a fund that could cover up to 12 weeks of paid time off.

Speaking on the House floor, Representative Douglas Ley, a Democrat from Jaffrey, told colleagues that without family medical leave, employees can be left to make a difficult choice.

“Do I continue to work and risk neglecting my elderly and ill parent, or child? Or do I quit work to care for my family, but thereby lose my income?” said Ley.

The measure passed on a 183-151 vote, with nearly all Democrats in support of the bill.

Opponents say the program is too costly and will lead to an unfunded future liability for the state. They also argued that workers can often already purchase similar products through private insurance.

The bill next heads to the House Commerce committee.

Four states--California, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island--currently offer similar programs for residents. 

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