All Sections

Home  Editorials

Leave time: Already unsustainable

February 11. 2018 12:35AM

New Hampshire's feel-good family leave program was underwater from the moment the bill had been drafted.

Last week, the New Hampshire House passed it anyway.

The bill would impose significant burdens on private sector employers to administer a new family and medical leave program, which is "voluntary" if new employees bring a notarized opt-out form before their first day of work.

The original bill would have workers pay 0.5 percent of their wages into an insurance pool, and receive 60 percent of their paycheck for up to 12 weeks if they needed to miss work to care for themselves or a family member.

The math never worked, and the House has already had to increase the premium by 50 percent and cut the benefits in half.

The program is unlikely to deliver even these scaled-down results. If and when the pool goes broke, you can count on the Legislature turning to taxpayers for a bailout.

Family leave policies should not be dictated by soft-hearted and soft-headed politicians.

There's no reason to create an unsustainable entitlement program so House members can tell themselves they are looking out for New Hampshire workers.

The bill now heads to the House Finance Committee, which will take another look at the bill's shaky finances. But there's little reason to believe that House members who so willingly ignored the program's bad math would suddenly see the light when given another chance.

Labor Social issues State Government Editorial

Newsletter Signup