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Senate passes paid family/medical leave bill

The New Hampshire Senate passed S.B.1, legislation that would create a state-wide paid family and medical leave program to cover all employees in the state, on Feb. 14. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House as H.B.712. These bills would implement a state-wide program to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave, at 60 percent of the income, for the birth or adoption of a child; to care for a sick family member; or manage their own serious illness. To fund the program, employees would pay 0.5 percent of their paycheck into a fund that would be managed by a hired third party. The sole difference between the Senate’s proposal and the House proposal is that the Senate proposal would require employers with 20 or more employees hold open the job of any employee who takes the leave. The proposed bills would be mandatory for all employers in the state. The only alternative would be if the employer already has a paid family leave program

The proposed bills differ from Gov. Chris Sununu’s joint proposal with Vermont. Sununu’s proposal would create a voluntary program that would offer six weeks of paid leave to employees. Sununu, the Senate leadership, and the House leadership will need to reach a compromise before any of the proposals can become law.

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