Vermont small businesses launch campaign for Biden’s paid leave proposal

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Lawmakers, businesses and other advocates in Vermont are joining the push for a federally funded program that would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.

Democratic state Sen. Becca Balint says the paid-leave provisions in President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan will give families much-needed stability and security.

“We don’t have a system for allowing people to be absolutely human in their relationships with their family members when you have a health crisis,” said Balint.

On Thursday, the Main Street Alliance of Vermont, which represents hundreds of small businesses in the state launched “We Believe in Paid Leave,” a video series that highlights how the provision would help Vermont workers.

According the the Alliance, less than 20% of Vermont workers have access to paid family leave and only 40% of employers offer paid medical leave.

“It’s about an understanding in a society that we make common commitments to one another,” said Rep. Peter Welch in a video call with reporters. “As part of that commitment, we have to set up systems and structures that allow that promise to be kept.”

Lt. Gov. Molly Gray Said that lack of support forces some employees in an already struggling workforce to leave their jobs altogether.

“Our economy and employers lose when women and caregivers leave the workforce,” Gray said. “We simply cant afford it here in Vermont.”

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