Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today announced that the State of Vermont has hired The Hartford to create the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan (VT-FMLI), a voluntary paid family and medical leave program that will give all working Vermonters access to affordable paid family and medical leave insurance by 2025.
The innovative plan, similar to a previously proposed Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan put forward in 2019 with the State of New Hampshire, will be available to employers in 2024, and individuals not covered in Phase II beginning in 2025. To help make the benefits more affordable, the program will be anchored by the State employee workforce, who will start receiving coverage in July 2023.
“I have long supported paid family and medical leave, provided it is voluntary and affordable,” said Governor Phil Scott. “By enrolling State employees to create a pool, and opening it up to all employers and individuals, I believe we can accomplish our shared goal of providing the peace of mind of paid family and medical leave more efficiently, affordably and quickly than imposing another mandatory broad-based tax on already over-burdened workers. This truly is a win-win. I look forward to its implementation and I encourage Vermont’s employers to join us in this new program.”
Under VT-FMLI, the new insurance coverage offered by The Hartford will provide enrolled Vermont State employees 60 percent wage replacement for six weeks for qualifying events starting in July 2023. Qualified events include:
- The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
- An employee’s adoption of a child or foster care placement, and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
- Caring for the employee’s spouse, child, stepchild, foster child, ward who lives with the employee, parent or parent of the employee’s spouse who has a serious health condition;
- A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job; or
- Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty,” or to care for a covered service-member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service-member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (i.e. “military caregiver leave”).
In 2024, private and non-State public employers with two or more employees will have the ability to select from a number of plan design options that allow them to best support the needs of their employees and their business. Beginning in 2025, individuals who work for Vermont employers that do not offer VT-FMLI, self-employed Vermonters, and employers with one employee can purchase coverage through the VT-FMLI individual purchasing pool, which will be insured by The Hartford. More information can be found by clicking here.
“The Hartford is thrilled to be selected as the insurance partner for the Vermont Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program,” said Jonathan Bennett, head of Group Benefits at The Hartford. “As a leading provider of employee benefits and leave management, we understand the value of paid leave to employees in Vermont and have decades of experience offering employers effective paid leave programs. The Hartford has the expertise, technology, and skilled staff to provide a seamless customer experience and make Vermont’s innovative program a success.”
The Hartford is a leading provider of employee benefits products and services, including leave management, group life and disability insurance, as well as other voluntary products. For more information, visit www.thehartford.com/groupbenefits.
The program will cost the State approximately $2 million annually – just about $4.50 per week and less than $20/month – for each of its employees.
The State will begin immediately working with partners to encourage employers to enroll in the program as those options open.