Paid Family and Medical Leave: N.H. Debates New Proposals

Feb 1, 2019

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Bills at the Statehouse would add the Granite State to a handful of others providing this benefit. But questions remain: Who pays, how much, and whether these plans should be voluntary or mandatory.  We look at competing proposals, including a bi-state plan between New Hampshire and Vermont.

  GUESTS: 

  • State Senator Jeb Bradley - Republican of Wolfeboro. A former small-business owner, he serves on several committees, including Health and Human Services.
  • State Senator Dan Feltes - Democrat of Concord and sponsor of SB1, which proposes paid family and medical leave for N.H.  He is vice-chairman of the Senate Finance committee and chairman of Ways and Means in the Senate. 
  • Peter Hirschfeld -   Capital bureau reporter for Vermont Public Radio.  Read his recent coverage of a bi-state proposal on paid family leave for Vt. and N.H., here
  • Bob Sanders -  Reporter with the New Hampshire Business Review. Read his coverage of the recent hearing on a new proposal for paid family leave.

Related Reading

Senate Democrats unveiled their new plan this week, called the Granite Caregiving Act of 2019, Senate Bill 1

At a recent hearing, supporters called SB1 a workforce development tool that will help draw young families to the state. Senator Dan Feltes called it   "actuarially sound."  Opponents, among them GOP Senator Chuck Morse, objected to what they view as government intrusion. Morse called it an "income tax, plain and simple."

Governor Chris Sununu recently announced a joint proposal with Governor Phil Scott of Vermont to create a voluntary program. 

Paid family leave was a major issue in the recent gubernatorial race, with former state Senator Molly Kelly and Governor Sununu taking different approaches. 

Vermont's paid family and medical leave debate goes back several years.  Last October, Vermont Democrats pledged to revive paid-family leave after Governor Phil Scott's veto. This commentator opposes the idea of paid family leave.

As this piece explains, both conservatives and liberals have found merit in the idea of paid family and medical leave and some are working on a national level toward a solution that appeals to both groups.