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Paid Family and Medical Leave Proposal Not Rooted in Economic Reality
The House is moving forward with H.66 and is expected to vote it out by the end of next week. Despite it taking two months to pass the legislation, few substantive changes were made from the time the bill was introduced to the time it was voted out of the House. The plan goes far beyond what was passed, and ultimately vetoed, in 2019. Funded by a 0.55% payroll tax, the plan would require $117 million annually to administer, $112 million in one-time startup funds, and as many as 65 new state employees during a severe workforce shortage. In the Senate, legislators have offered their own solution as part of their childcare bill, which would be twelve weeks of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
Further work will be required in the Senate to ensure legislators understand the current economic realities facing Vermont business owners, and the potential unintended consequences of an additional payroll tax on top of the considerable cost involved when an employee is on leave for 12 weeks. As the issue evolves, the Vermont Chamber will continue to center facts and data in testimony to ensure legislators understand the full impact the legislation would have on the Vermont business community.
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