On Tuesday, the fight over paid family leave took center stage in Montpelier.
The house voted 89 to 57 in favor of paid family leave, but it’s not the final hurdle before becoming law.
“We have a fairly narrow definition of what serious illness means,” says Rep. George Till, (D) Chittenden-3.
Throughout most of Tuesday, House lawmakers grappled with what to do with the bill, which would fund six weeks of parental and family leave.
Some say it’s a modest version of the original bill, which would’ve given workers 12 weeks of full pay.
But house Republicans question the affordability of the state insurance program.
“You don’t have a choice. You are going to start having money taken from your paycheck to pay for this program,” says Rep. Anne Donahue (R) Washington-1.
The state-wide insurance program would put a point .141 percent payroll tax on the employee. The previous version called for a 0.93 percent payroll tax.
“Then it’s wide open. The cost is going to be whatever the cost of the program turns out to be,” says Rep. Anne Donahue.
Democrats say it’s a cost worth fighting for whether it’s to care for a loved one or bond with a newborn.
“This gives every new father in Vermont the ability to take some time off without losing all their income to bond with the baby,” says Rep. Till, (D) Chittenden-3. Rep.
Rep. Donahue says she still has concerns after Tuesday’s house vote.
“You don’t have any choice. That to me is the biggest issue that this is a compelled insurance and we don’t do that for other things.”
The bill will now move to the senate for consideration.