Minimum Wage Increase and Paid Family Leave on the Agenda
The Senate Economic Development, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee is considering bills to raise the minimum wage and establish a paid family leave program.
  • S. 52 would incrementally raise the minimum wage each year, to reach $15 per hour by 2025, and then increase each year by five percent or by the percentage increase of the consumer price index, whichever is smaller. Since the tipped minimum wage is set at 50% of the minimum wage, this bill will incrementally raise the tipped minimum wage, which is currently $6.28 per hour. Given the current state of the labor market and the dramatic rise in wages across most sectors, many businesses report that to attract workers they are already paying $15 per hour.
  • S. 65 proposes to create a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, which would provide eligible employees with paid parental and family leave, as well as the option to obtain medical leave coverage for their own illness. This would cover employees who need to take time off to care for a family member sick with COVID but would not cover time off for quarantine. The Committee discussed ways to reimburse employers who experienced significant staff absences due to quarantine, and the Vermont Chamber supports the exploration of this problem which has significantly impacted small businesses during the pandemic. The Vermont Chamber also supports an opt-in model for businesses and employees.