Health plan is not good

Once upon a time, I had paid family leave and sick time as part of my employment. This was at a Vermont company and I paid for these and other benefits out of my wages for when I would need them.

I needed paid family leave in 2005-2006 when my late mother developed the lung cancer that ended her life. Having this allowed me to be with her during her last days without fear of losing my employment or pay because my mother was dying. I then lost this job due to a company “restructuring” especially tailored to eliminate those like me with benefits. I was 53; The chance did not exist of my ever again getting this or any other benefit through employment.

Why should a few have this while the many do not? Why do Vermonters have to choose between spending time to comfort a sick or dying relative and loss of our pay, our jobs, our homes and so on? This predicament is the reality for most of Vermont’s working people.

Governors Scott and Sununu’s idea of a voluntary opt-in for paid family leave is grossly unfair. It only helps the wealthy at the expense of thousands of workers in both states, working for barely above minimum wage, who have zero opportunities for paid leave without sacrificing pay and, maybe, their jobs.

Only a universal program such as that envisioned by the Vermont Legislature will make paid family leave equal and viable for all of us.

Walter Carpenter


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