Mandated Paid Leave

Date: February 19, 2014

The intense debate over the Paid Sick Leave Bill,(H.208) continues to be a main focus of the Legislature. On February 11, by a vote of 6-1, the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs passed H.208, out of their Committee and moved it on to the House Committee on Appropriations for further consideration. The bill would require employers to pay their workers one hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked.

The House General Committee did make several fixes and changes to H.208 after lengthy discussions, however. The discussions and changes were largely focused on what size employers would be subject to the bill’s mandates and what type of employees would be able to take advantage of paid leave. Ultimately, the Committee decided to exempt employers that employed four or fewer employees from H.208’s requirements. The Committee also wrote a probationary period into the bill that would not allow seasonal workers to use paid sick time during their first season of employment. A provision was also added that would give employers discretion about conditions they can place on the sick time; for example requiring notice or requesting medical documentation to prove validity of time off requests. A penalty provision was added that could possibly subject employers to $5,000 fines for violations of paid leave mandates.

“I think we’ve done a very good job with this,” said Representative Jean O’Sullivan, D-Burlington, who voted to pass H.208 on to the Appropriations Committee. “I think it’s fair and the end result is responsive to all the comments we’ve heard from our constituents and also other legislators.” The lone no vote was cast by Representative Warren Van Wyck, R-Ferrisburgh, who stated: “I think this is going to have a detrimental effect on job growth in Vermont.”

NFIB/VT needs your help to stop this legislation! You and your employees need to contact their legislator(s) -asking them to oppose H.208 via our Action Alert Center.

You may also call the State House at 802-828-2228 to leave a message that will be hand-delivered or you may contact them directly. Members of the House Appropriations Committee can be reached by contacting:

Rep. Martha Heath of Westford, Chair (802) 893-1291

Rep, Mitzi Johnson of South Hero, Vice Chair 363-4448

Rep. Bob Helm of Fair Haven, Ranking Member 265-2145

Rep. Peter Fagan of Rutland City 342-1214

Rep. Kathy Keenan of St. Albans City 524-5013

Rep. Ann Manwaring of Wilmington 464-2150

Rep. Alice Miller of Shaftsbury 442-9825

Rep. Anne O’Brien of 434-4250

Rep. Chuck Pearce of 848-7813

Rep. Kitty Toll of Danville, 684-3671

Rep. Phil Winters of Williamstown(802) 433-5590

Also, take a moment and contact Speaker Shap Smith at 802-828-2245 or And Senate President Pro-Tempore John Campbell at senprespt@leg.state.vt.usor 802-828-3806, as well as Governor Peter Shumlin at governorvt@state.vt.usor at 800-649-6825.

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