New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced a joint plan Wednesday to bring voluntary paid family and medical leave to the two states.
The two Republicans chose to make the announcement at Schilling Beer Co. in Littleton, a company near the state border that employs residents of both New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan calls for pooling some 18,500 state workers from Vermont and New Hampshire.
Sununu says that base will make the opportunity more attractive to private insurance carriers, which would manage the plans.
"The larger combined state employee risk pools help make the pricing much more predictable, much more stable within the two states,” Sununu said.
The measure would allow for six weeks maximum paid leave to care for a child or spouse with a serious medical condition, among other provisions.
Governor Scott said he believes the voluntary plan will make Vermont more attractive to workers as the state struggles with population growth.
"If we're successful in each of our state legislatures, we can establish a model and standard for the rest of the country that meets the calls for greater work-life balance," Scott said.
Both governors opposed measures to introduce paid medical leave in their states last year.
Dan Feltes, New Hampshire's Democratic Senate Majority leader, released a statement in support of family and medical leave insurance, but opposed to this plan.
“There’s no policy behind this, there’s no legislative planning behind this, there’s no actuarial studies, there’s no stakeholder support, and there has been no effort at bipartisanship,” Feltes said.
Amanda Sears is director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, which advocates for paid family and medical leave policies in the Granite State.
“What I would like to see the governor do is to roll up his sleeves and to work with the bipartisan group of lawmakers who have been working toward a solution in New Hampshire and work to really implement this as real policy that can make a difference for New Hampshire families,” Sears said.
Legislators in both states would need to adopt the plan independently.