At last week’s Democratic legislative caucus, it was announced a mandatory new paid family and medical leave program would be introduced soon, funded by a 0.58 percent payroll tax, split between the employer and employee.
This would raise an estimated $100 million. The program would be much larger than previously proposed, providing 100% wage replacement for 12-weeks of leave for a vast number of absences. The bureaucracy supporting this program would be housed in the Office of the State Treasurer, and about $20 million would be needed to stand up the program.
The plan is competing with the Governor’s voluntary plan, the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan (VT-FMLI). The Department of Economic Development is collecting feedback from employers about the business community’s interest.
While there are many fine details to be legislated, the major fault lines and the crux of most conversations will be:
- Should the state mandate such a program or facilitate a voluntary option
- Should the state-run such a program or contract a third party to do so
- What share of the program should be paid for by the employer or the employee
- How broad should the categories be for leave. – Lake Champlain Chamber