Paid time off

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of Vermont urges that this paper and its readers provide strong support to Vermont Senate Bill 255 and House Bill 208. These bills would ensure that all employees would accrue a minimum number of paid hours annually so that they can take paid time from work to take care of their own health and safety needs and those of their family.

Half of all private sector employers do not provide paid time off for absence from work for illness or medical care. That means that an estimated 38 percent of all private sector workers in Vermont must choose between jeopardizing their health or the health of a family member and foregoing income.

The League has long supported paid sick leave and compassionate leave. In the 1990s, the national League of Women Voters lobbied successfully in support of the Family and Medical Leave Act which protected workers from losing their jobs when they needed sick days to take care of the health needs of their family.

The League of Women Voters of Vermont believes that one of the social policy goals in Vermont should be to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families and that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty. This bill will clearly help families around Vermont by providing a minimum of 56 paid hours a year to see a doctor or care for a loved one.

Frances Knibb

League of Women Voters of Vermont

Putney, Vt.

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