At some point, nearly everyone needs to take time away from work to deal with a serious personal or family illness, or to care for a new child. But too often, working people are forced to lose the income they depend on to make ends meet in order to provide care for themselves or a family member. New Hampshire needs a strong workforce to keep our economy growing. Caregiving duties are one of the biggest barriers keeping qualified workers out of the labor market.
House Bill 628 has been before lawmakers since January 2017, and would establish a family and medical leave insurance program in New Hampshire. Funded through employee payroll deductions of 0.67% of earnings, the program would provide workers with up to 6 weeks a year of leave with partial, temporary wage replacement when they need to take time out to care for themselves or a family member.
Here are the facts:
- Paid leave helps keep aging workers in the workforce, increases the odds of success for workers recovering from substance use disorder, and leads to higher workforce participation among new parents;
- Only one-third of New Hampshire’s workers currently have access to paid family and medical leave, leaving the majority of Granite Staters without the security of knowing they can earn a living and care for an ill or newborn family member
- More than 80% of New Hampshire residents support paid leave, including majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats
- More than 100 New Hampshire businesses have signed a letter of support for House Bill 628. Take a look at the full list here.
- 90% of employers in states with similar programs reported a “positive effect” or “no noticeable effect” on productivity, performance, and profitability
"I left the workforce for more than a decade to be my daughter's full time caregiver, but there were times that I needed an extra set of hands. After an involved orthopedic surgery I could not transfer, bathe, or change her myself for five weeks." - Jennifer Bertrand, former Policy Chair of the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities
Jennifer is a parent of four, including her adult child Chloe who experiences a significant developmental disability. She is also the former Policy Chair of the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities. Jennifer knows firsthand the unique challenges facing people with disabilities and their families who need to take time off to address medical conditions. Her husband was the only one working to support the family so they could not afford for him to take unpaid leave, even just for a few weeks when Chloe needed more intensive care following any surgeries or procedures.