Letter: Insurance program supports small business, Vermont economy

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Editor of the Reformer:

I've been the owner of New Ground Creative in Brattleboro for the past 4.5 years. We are an spunky five-person team of creatives who work with mission-driven nonprofits, educational institutions and businesses with heart to build their brands through engaging design, dynamic campaigns, and authentic messaging.

As a small business owner, I recognize the importance of providing meaningful work, and great compensation and benefits to my employees -- not only because it's good for my business in that it reduces turnover and improves employee morale, but because it's also good for Vermont's economy.

As a small employer, it can be incredibly difficult to provide my employees with all the benefits they need - and to compete with larger employers that often can. That's why I support the creation of a family and medical leave insurance program.

We know that most small business owners could never provide the necessary amount of paid family and medical leave to their employees. A pooled insurance program would eliminate this dilemma for me and other small businesses across the state -- enabling us to help provide the 12 weeks of leave that are necessary for optimal health outcomes for children and parents.

A statewide family and medical leave insurance program will help Vermont small businesses be more competitive employers and strengthen Vermont's economy. It will also help attract and retain young professionals and families to live, work, and raise families here.

I can also speak to my support for this personally as a mother of an 18-month old. After my daugher was born, my husband and I had to go back to work after two weeks because we needed to pay for health insurance. Luckily because I own my own business and his employer was extremely flexible, we made it work. But it was really stressful for us at time that was so important for our family to bond with our new baby.

That's why we need to create a statewide family and medical leave insurance program: to support healthy Vermont families and communities, small businesses, and strengthen the Vermont economy.

Carrie Simmons

Owner of New Ground Creative

Brattleboro, Feb. 15


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