In A Late-Night Veto Session, Governor Kills Paid Family and Medical Leave

Richmond, Virginia—Paid family and medical leave is critical  for working families, and consistently one of the most popular issues for voters: recent polling suggests that 85% of voters support paid leave policies.  In February, the House of Delegates passed a historic bill to extend eight weeks of paid family and medical leave to workers in our community, so they could take time to care for sick family members, welcome a new child or recover from illness without going bankrupt.  Late Friday night, without fanfare, multimillionaire Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed that bill, cutting off a lifeline for families who had long hoped for relief. In his veto statements, the Governor (who also vetoed bills that would have extended critical protections for renters) trumpeted his respect for Virginia’s “culture of life”and said that passing a paid leave policy would disincentivize private sector businesses to provide paid leave on their own.  76% of Virginians currently have no access to paid leave and 61% of Virginians cannot even access unpaid leave. 

“Paid family and medical leave is non-negotiable for working families who are grappling with illness, helping care for family members, or taking some time to welcome a new child. We’ve spent years pushing for this bill, and we’re furious that Governor Youngkin has vetoed it despite the clear will of the people to get it passed,” said LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director at Progress Virginia. “Paid leave is a justice issue, and we’re not going to back down when it comes to fighting for justice. We are fighting for all working families, particularly the Black and Brown women who too often shoulder the burden of care at the expense of their own physical and financial health. Glenn Youngkin is only interested in helping his rich friends get richer and giving even more money and power to big corporations; yet again, he thinks of our community’s suffering as collateral damage. We may not have gotten this bill passed this year, but we will be here when Glenn Youngkin is gone, and we aren’t going to stop until we get our working families access to the support they deserve.”