The New Hampshire Paid Family Medical Leave law has been left behind in the dust. Republican Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the bill, saying that he fully supports paid family medical leave but not the plan passed by the Democratic majority New Hampshire Legislature. The Democratic proposal, referred to as Senate Bill 1, would set up a public fund administered by the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security and would have been funded by a payroll tax on all employee wages. The payroll deduction would be mandatory unless the employer voluntarily provided the same or superior benefits either directly or through a self-insured plan.
Calling this an “income tax” that neither he nor New Hampshire would support, Governor Sununu effectively killed the plan with the veto. The original votes in the House and Senate fell far short of the two-thirds needed to override the Governor’s veto.
The Governor’s plan, which he submitted with his 2019 Budget, proposes a state funded program in cooperation with Vermont for state workers in both states in which non-state employers or individual employees would be able to voluntarily participate at a premium that would be reduced by the large pool of state workers. This plan, however, has gained little traction in the Democratic Legislature.
Perhaps a compromise can be reached. After all, both sides appear to agree that paid family medical leave is a good idea—it is just a matter of figuring out how to pay for it.