Encourage Candidates to Develop Policy Proposals
Concord N.H. – Supporters of expanded access to paid family and medical leave benefits outlined a set of principles today intended to be used as a guide for candidates and policy makers as they consider how to meet the caregiving and financial security needs of working families in New Hampshire.
“There is broad bipartisan support among voters for creation of a family and medical leave program in New Hampshire and candidates up and down the ballot are voicing support for paid leave. The debate has really shifted from whether people need paid leave to how to meet that need with effective, meaningful policy that makes this critical benefit available to all Granite Staters,”said Amanda Sears, Director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy.
Increasingly, candidates for elected office are answering the call from voters to establish a paid family and medical leave program in New Hampshire. As the discussion continues and candidates voice support for paid leave, advocates outlined the following principles to guide the development of plans to make this critical benefit available.
- All working people in New Hampshire are guaranteed affordable access to a paid family and medical leave insurance program with meaningful benefits.
- Benefits are available to cover care of one’s self and one’s family members.
- Premiums must be affordable and stable for all working people.
- Benefits are meaningful and enable working families to maintain financial security while supporting their caregiving obligations.
- Employees who use or expect to use benefits are protected from retaliation.
- Employees, employers, and state government share responsibility in financing, administering, and safeguarding the program.
“New Hampshire policy makers and candidates for office considering how to meet the need for paid family and medical leave should use these principles as the scaffolding to build their own plans that ensure all working people in New Hampshire receive the benefits they need,” said Sarah Mattson Dustin, Director of Policy for the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation.
“I’ve heard almost unanimous agreement among candidates that they believe paid leave is a good idea and understand it is a priority working families need but it takes more than believing in something to make it a reality. It takes a plan. Voters overwhelmingly support creation of a family and medical leave insurance program. They should be asking their candidates ‘what’s your plan for paid leave?’ ” said Nancy Glynn, a mother from Manchester who has experienced first hand the struggles families in New Hampshire face without access to paid family and medical leave when they need it.
On Monday, New Hampshire earned a “D+” grade in an analysis of state regulations related to paid and unpaid leave. In the report, Raising Expectations,released by the National Partnership for Women and Families, it is clear New Hampshire is an outlier compared to neighboring states as all other New England states earned grades of B- or better.
“Businesses like ours need a strong local economy. As a cooperatively owned business able to leverage benefits to attract and retain employees, we recognize that paid family and medical leave strengthens businesses big and small by supporting the economy’s most valuable asset — the people who do the work. A stable workforce is the backbone of a vibrant New Hampshire economy,” said Allan Reetz, Director of Public Relations for the Hanover Co-op Food Stores.
More than two thirds of working people in New Hampshire lack access to paid leave from work to take time to care for themselves and their families. 82% of New Hampshire residents support creating a system of family and medical leave insurance to ensure working people can maintain their financial security when they need to take time out from work to meet caregiving obligations. Access to paid family and medical leave will address New Hampshire’s most significant challenges by helping aging workers stay in the workforce, increasing the odds of success for working people recovering from substance abuse and lead to higher workforce participation among new parents. Personal stories highlighting the need for family and medical leave insurance can be found in New Hampshire Voices on Paid Family and Medical Leave.