State News

House advances paid leave bill after three-hour debate

H.187 passes 76-66 on second reading

By Erin Mansfield,

The Vermont House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to the bill that would require employers to offer three days of paid time off to permanent employees starting in 2016.

Workers would accrue paid time off at a rate of one hour per 40 hours worked, maxing out at three days of leave in 2016 and 2017, but moving up to five days in 2018. Employers would have the discretion to impose a waiting period of up to one year for part-time workers or 1,400 hours for full-time workers.

The language exempts federal and state employees, certain temporary health care workers, substitute teachers, temporary and seasonal workers, among other categories. Part-time workers are included, and employers with more robust paid-time-off packages for their full-time employees would not need to change their policies.

According to an analysis from the Joint Fiscal Office, H.187 would cost the private sector between $3.6 million and $8.2 million per year in 2016 and 2017. Starting in 2018, the paid leave would cost employers between $6.2 million and $14.3 million, according to JFO.

Gov. Peter Shumlin issued a statement following the vote praising the House for giving the bill preliminary approval. He said Vermonters without paid leave are put in “a difficult and unfair” position.

The Senate is not expected to take up the bill this year.

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