This Issue Update newsletter is part of a series that provides more information on each priority issue on the Alliance's 2023 Legislative Agenda. The Legislative Agenda is crafted annually in partnership with early childhood organizations that are advancing legislative policy solutions related to health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education. The nine priority issues were selected by the Alliance's 21 member Steering Committee.


Universal Family and Medical Leave for All Workers

Nearly every working Vermonter at some point will need to take time away from their job to care for or bond with a new child or deal with a serious personal or family illness.

However, very few Vermonters have access to parental leave or personal medical leave through their employer. Federal and state laws allow certain eligible employees to take unpaid leave for these purposes, but many cannot afford to take leave when they need it. Unmet need for leave is substantially higher for those with children, people of color and people with low incomes. 

A comprehensive, universal paid family and medical leave insurance program will support the health, well-being, and economic security of Vermont’s children and families. Strong families make strong communities and a thriving Vermont.

The Alliance will continue to support the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FaMLI) Coalition in advocating for passage of a publicly overseen insurance program that creates universal paid medical and family leave for all workers and families in Vermont.

Update: H.66 was introduced in January by lead sponsors Reps. Kornheiser, Scheu and Stevens. The House Committee on General and Housing began consideration of the bill last week. Witness testimony is expected to begin this week, and a Senate companion bill will be introduced soon. A press conference marking the 30th anniversary of the federal (unpaid) Family and Medical Leave Act and the need for an equitable paid program in Vermont is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th at noon in the State House’s Cedar Creek Room, featuring Rep. Kornheiser and Sen. Ram Hinsdale, along with impacted Vermonters. 


Data and Talking Points

  • When parents can attend to a child’s early medical needs, infant mortality and the occurrence and length of childhood illnesses are reduced, in turn lowering health care costs and associated impacts.
  • Unmet need for leave is substantially higher for those with children, people of color and people with low incomes.
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave results in a 20% reduction in women leaving the workforce for caregiving reasons.

Lead Organization

Voices for Vermont’s Children

Established in 1983, Voices for Vermont’s Children (formerly Vermont Children’s Forum) began as an informal alliance of human service and education advocates concerned about the status of children and youth in Vermont.

Voices evolved into a statewide, multi-issue child policy research and advocacy organization that has shaped the landscape around child wellbeing in Vermont by:

  • Advocating during the Vermont Legislative session;
  • Organizing and working in state and regional coalitions;
  • Providing up-to-date information, policy briefs and fact sheets on issues important to children and youth. This includes publishing Vermont KIDS COUNT child and family data reports; and
  • Convening workshops, trainings and conferences.

They are currently engaged in significant work to explicitly integrate anti-oppression principles and strategies into their mission and policies. They are building a team and stakeholder community that is representative of and accountable to the communities most impacted by inequity.


Resources and Advocacy Tools

  • To get involved, please contact Voices for Vermont's Children Executive Director, Michelle Fay, at
  • Sign on to Voices for Vermont Children’s Paid Family & Medical Leave petition and share why access to paid, job-protected family and medical leave is important to you!
  • Share your story highlighting the need for paid family and medical leave here

The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a statewide coalition formed in 2000 of early childhood professionals, parents, organizations, businesses, and strategic partners committed to improving public policies that impact young children between birth and age eight in the areas of health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education.

The Alliance crafts an annual Legislative Agenda in partnership with early childhood organizations, provides year-round advocacy support, and facilitates meaningful interactions with policymakers at key times during the decision making process.


7 School Street | Montpelier , Vermont 05602

The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a program of the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

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