Family leave bill still unresolved

NEW HAVEN — The Vermont Legislature is considering two bills that address key components of how Vermonters are treated in the workplace — paid family leave and the minimum wage.
At Monday’s legislative breakfast at the New Haven Congregational Church, local lawmakers gave an update on those bills and how one might affect the other.
Bill H.196 would create a family leave insurance program within the Department of Labor that would grant employees 12 weeks of paid family leave, funded by contributions from employers and employees. The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate.
“I think there’s fairly broad support,” said Rep. Fred Baser, R-Bristol. “I know the governor isn’t a big fan, but I am. I think it’s a wonderful measure and step we could take, and quite frankly I think it’s a wonderful economic development tool.”
In the meantime, the House is considering S.40, a Senate-passed bill to increase Vermont’s minimum wage from the current $10.50 per hour to $15 (within the next six years). It currently sits in the House General & Military Affairs Committee.
Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, said the fate of the bill is uncertain. She noted House leaders consider paid family leave a priority and Senate leaders are pushing for the minimum wage increase.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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