MIDDLESEX, VT -- Nutty Steph's, the Vermont chocolate and granola company that brought you the “Bernie Bar” and the “Pride Bar,” is partnering with Main Street Alliance of Vermont to offer the “Family Bar.” This chocolate bar is meant to raise awareness about the need for protected, paid family and medical leave so working Americans have the means to balance their jobs and lives.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of the chocolate bar will support MSA-VT's work on the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance (VT FaMLI) Campaign – which launched in October. VT FaMLI is calling for 12 weeks of paid, job protected leave for all working Vermonters through the creation of a statewide family and medical leave insurance program – like those in RI, NJ, CA, and soon NY. A family and medical leave insurance program is a support for small business as much as it is for employees.
“On a moral level, this initiative is just something that I support – new mothers should be able to bond with their babies, we should be encouraging breastfeeding and promoting the health of Vermont’s future generations and new parents. It is absurd that we, as a country, are so far behind the rest of the world,” said Jaquelyn Rieke, owner of Nutty Steph’s. “As a small business owner, though, there is another layer to this for me. This is a benefit that I would love to be able to offer to my employees, but I just can’t cover the costs associated with private plans. If Vermont implements a statewide insurance plan, it will be an enormous support to me and other small employers like me who have to compete with bigger businesses for employees.”
“Paid family and medical leave insurance will help Vermont’s small businesses be more competitive,” said Lindsay DesLauriers, MSA-VT Director. “We are a small business state and few employers here are able to provide family and medical leave independently. A statewide insurance plan will make our state more competitive and is part of how we can attract more young professionals and families to move to and stay in Vermont, strengthening our workforce and economy.”
The VT FaMLI Coalition is lead by Voices for Vermont’s Children and Main Street Alliance of Vermont and includes: Vermont Commission on Women, Rights & Democracy, Peace & Justice Center, Let’s Grow Kids, Vermont Interfaith Action, Vermont Network, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Good Beginnings of Central Vermont, Vermont-NEA, Community of Vermont Elders, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, AARP-VT, Vermont Public Health Association, Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council, Public Assets Institute, VT Legal Aid, Working Vermont, Parent Child Centers, American Federation of Teachers-VT, and Vermont Early Childhood Alliance.