Vermont House approves paid family leave plan
After more than three hours of debate, the Vermont House on Thursday night gave its approval to a comprehensive Paid Family Leave bill. The legislation is a top priority for House Democrats.
Under the bill, individuals would be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave when they or a family member gets ill. It also covers the birth of a child.
During the leave time, people would be reimbursed at 90 percent of their salary.
The annual cost of the proposal is about $120 million and would be paid for by imposing a roughly half a percent payroll tax to be split between employers and employees.
Middletown Springs Rep. Robin Chestnut-Tangerman urged his colleagues to support the bill: "This benefit needs to be available to all working Vermonters, not just those working for larger employers, so that people can actually afford to use it," he said.
The House vote tally on Thursday was 99-32.
Opponents argued that the bill is far too costly and that the new payroll tax will hurt the state economy. The legislation also faces the strong opposition of Gov. Phil Scott.
The House gave final approval to the family leave plan on Friday morning and sent it to the Senate, which has been drafting its own competing version of a family leave proposal.
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