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Public Policy Blog

Paid Leave policy

by Dan Barlow on Dec 28th, 2012

Families have changed, the workforce and the economy have changed, but many of our labor and workforce policies have not. Problems in our labor and workforce policies contribute to instability in our economy. In the absence of paid leave, many families face the possibility of severe debt, bankruptcy or the need for public assistance programs when facing a personal or family health crisis when paid leave policies are not in place.

Most VBSR businesses with employees offer some form of paid leave and understand that providing this benefit generally improves the health and well-being of its workforce, and, therefore, the financial bottom line of the business. The movement towards comprehensive time off (CTO) offers respect to the individual employee who can use leave according to their particular needs whether it be child care, elder care, personal care, vacation, etc.  We believe the state should not dictate to the business owner or the employee what leave should or should not be used for.

VBSR believes there needs to be a comprehensive and uniform approach to paid leave that does not favor one type of family at a particular stage in life. We support the development of a state strategy for all businesses that guarantees paid leave as a step toward creating a more stable workforce and stable families.

This public policy should:

•    Expand the 1991 Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act (VPFL) to include wage replacement for a broader pool of workers and businesses.

•    Provide outreach and education to the business community on the positive health outcomes and improved income security connected with expanded paid leave policies and the benefits of Combined Time Off.

•    Require businesses to provide 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.

•    Consider the establishment of Temporary Leave Insurance Fund to make paid worker leave a social responsibility of the business community and to make these programs more affordable for smaller businesses.

•    Allow businesses to pool paid leave under a Combined Time Off policy that allows workers to take necessary time off without wage loss regardless if the use is for vacation, a basic illness or a planned or emergency medical procedure.

A stable workforce and stable families are essential components in a sustainable economic system. Establishing a state mandate of paid leave for Vermont’s workforce will benefit employees, employers and society.

 

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