Concord N.H. – In an article in today’s Concord Monitor, Governor Sununu’s spokesperson claimed the Governor “rarely” hears paid family and medical leave mentioned by voters offering that “the key issues from voters continue to be the opioid crisis, mental health reform, child welfare and education”.
“The Governor doesn’t seem to understand paid family and medical leave is a solution to the very concerns his office says are on the top of voters minds,” said Amanda Sears, Director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy which has been a lead advocate for family and medical leave insurance in New Hampshire. “When voters talk to Governor Sununu about the opioid crisis or child welfare they are looking for solutions. A family and medical leave insurance program would help ensure working people can take the time they need to get into treatment for addiction or to welcome a new foster child into their home from the child welfare system.”
Family and medical leave insurance would provide for partial, temporary wage replacement for working people when they need to take time off from work for addiction recovery services, to provide care to a loved one who is unable to work due to a mental health condition or to welcome a foster child home from the child welfare system.
“I work at a treatment center and we get dozens of calls each week from working people who need treatment. One of the most common obstacles keeping people from the treatment they need is that they can’t afford to take time away from work to tackle their substance use,” said John Iudice the Program Director at Addiction Recovery Services, an outpatient treatment program with offices in Salem and Portsmouth. Iudice was featured in a publication, New Hampshire Voices on Paid Family and Medical Leave delivered to the Governor and other policy makers earlier this year.
The Monitor article featured Marlana Ramsey, who lives in Belmont and shared her experience undergoing multiple surgeries and a heart transplant following a cardiac arrest she suffered in 2017 while 33 weeks pregnant with twins. “I went through the wringer. I was on life support for two months…through all of this I have tried to take care of myself and my husband has tried to take care of our four children.” Marlana made the case that a family and medical leave insurance program would help families like hers maintain some financial security while experiencing unexpected health emergencies.
“The fact that the Governor believes he is rarely hearing about paid leave from voters makes me think he doesn’t understand the policy,” said Amanda Sears.
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.