Vermont governor vetoes family leave bill

January 31, 2020 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott on Friday vetoed a bill that would have guaranteed workers as many as 12 weeks of paid family leave, saying he opposed the $29 million payroll tax to fund what would be a mandatory program.

The Republican governor said he would progress with his voluntary paid family and medical leave program.

“I share the goal to provide a program that allows workers time to take care of family and personal health needs, and to bond with new children,” he said in a written statement. “That’s why my administration has advocated for, and acted on, a voluntary paid family and medical leave plan.”

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said she was “incredibly disappointed” with the governor’s choice but said the legislature has a chance to override the veto and the the House will take action next week.

“The impact of paid family leave on the lives of Vermonters cannot be understated,” she said, adding that the governor never shared the details on how much his program would cost.

“The Legislature’s bill represents a significant movement by the Legislature toward his position. It’s disappointing that he is unable to accept this compromise proposal that will benefit so many Vermont families,” she said.

Proponents have said the bill was needed to help recruit and retain workers in Vermont.

The bill guaranteed up to 12 weeks of paid parental or bonding leave and up to eight weeks of paid family care leave.