Benefit reduced 10% by House tax committee to equalize with wages
The House Committee on Ways and Means last week continued discussion of H66, which would create one of the most generous paid family and medical leave programs in the country.
The 100% wage replacement in H66 was cut by 10% last week after the House Ways and Means Committee realized workers would be paid more during leave than while at work.
Ways and Means also learned the cost of implementing the legislation went from $20 million to $48 million and the continual cost of the program to $96 million, funded by a 0.55% payroll tax. The Committee is reducing the wage replacement from 100% to 90% after realizing that those receiving benefits would be making more than they would otherwise because there is no tax withheld from the benefit payment.
Ways and Means will continue their work after they return from the town meeting week recess.
Workers’ rights, collective bargaining expansion bill – The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs spent the week hearing from labor lobbyists regarding numerous labor bills. Among them was S.102, an act relating to expanding employment protections and collective bargaining rights.
The Committee’s only witness of the week representing the business community perspective on the bill, the Lake Champlain Chamber, used half of their 15 minutes to explain to the committee that this bill is an unequivocal “no” from the business community as it would make the state an extreme outlier in the United States. According to the Chamber, the bill:
- Requires severance pay for employees at a rate of one hour of pay for every 12 and one-half hours worked during the employee’s first year of employment and an additional one hour for every 50 hours worked in subsequent years.
- Has a “captive audience” provision, which prevents an employer from discussing issues perceived as political with an employee. The provision is aimed at preventing employers from discussing the impacts of unionization with employees, however, it can have far-reaching consequences as well.
- Prevent “electronic monitoring,” which could be so broad as not to allow video recordings of a crime to be used in discharging an employee.
- Make the discharge of an employee due to unsatisfactory employment performance and not at the discretion of the employer.
Sourced from Lake Champlain Chamber March 3 newsletter.