My Turn: With paid family leave veto, Sununu blocks progress

For the Monitor
Published: 5/12/2019 12:10:17 AM

As a former legal aid attorney working to help low-income families, to serving in the Senate hearing the needs of working families, to being a dad of two amazing and wonderful young daughters, I know and I have seen just how important paid family leave is to help people get by.

Every worker in every community across New Hampshire should have access to paid family leave insurance. Gov. Chris Sununu just stopped that from happening.

He just vetoed paid family leave. It is no way to celebrate Mother’s Day. And he is holding New Hampshire back from making progress.

Paid family and medical leave insurance is critical to tackling some of New Hampshire’s biggest challenges, from caretaking for seniors, to combating our opioid epidemic, to attracting and retaining young working families.

More specifically, Gov. Sununu’s veto of paid family and medical leave insurance means workers caregiving for a spouse or parent who may be in hospice or dying, will have to choose between work and family.

It means workers struggling with opioid addiction will have to choose between the treatment they need or risk their family’s economic security.

It means workers who have or who adopt a new baby won’t be able to bond with the baby, won’t be there at that critical early time, and they won’t think New Hampshire is the best place to start and raise a family.

And it means small businesses struggling to provide this benefit – unlike big corporations that can do this on their own – will continue to be at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and retaining the workforce of tomorrow.

Over 80% of Granite Staters support paid family and medical leave insurance. This broad support transcends party lines, ideology and geography. The bill Gov. Sununu vetoed was a long-standing, bipartisan legislative effort that established a public-private partnership to provide paid family and medical leave insurance to all Granite Staters.

It is unfortunate Gov. Sununu choose to stand in the way of progress.

(Dan Feltes is the Senate majority leader and the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1, establishing a public-private partnership for paid family leave insurance.)

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