Paid medical leave with 100% wage replacement OK’d by committee

Administering mandated insurance would double size of Treasurer’s office

The House Committee on General and Housing passed out H.66 Thursday February 16, which would create the most generous paid family and medical leave program in the United States.

The Committee heard a last-minute appeal from the Lake Champlain Chamber to reign in spending and insulate risk to state finances with some of the requests being met. Despite this, the bill is still extremely generous and might create major risks to the state. 

The bill provides employees with up to 12 weeks for their own health, maternity/parental, family care, safe, and bereavement (bereavement would be only two weeks). Employees that have been employed with the same employer for a period of six months, during which time they averaged 20 hours a week, would be eligible. The bill provides a wage replacement of 100% up to the state’s average weekly wage of $1,135 per week.

Notably, the bill changes FMLA leave in Vermont to cover any person employing one or more individuals in Vermont. The program would be paid for by a 0.55% payroll tax split between the employer and the employee. 

The Committee heard from the Office of the Treasurer that administering this program would double the size of their office, and they would need upwards of $100 million to stand up the program. The Treasurer’s Office also was granted authority to set the tax rate annually.

Historically, the bill would now head to the Ways and Means Committee, however, some are advocating for the bill to be sent to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development due to their existing jurisdiction around comparable programs such as Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation. 

Republished from Lake Champlain Chamber newsletter

Categories: Legislation, Uncategorized

8 replies »

  1. We need to remember that all these taxes, whether deducted from the employee paycheck or the employer, all add to the cost of doing business which means the cost of the product is increased. The increased cost for government employees is covered by increased taxes.

  2. Vermont may be entering the civilized world! Rejoice! I hope this becomes law, and helps families stay whole during a medical emergency. One of my colleagues could have use this when his wife was in the hospital for weeks, and he had to stay home from work, and look after his small children. They almost lost everything. This is what is taken for granted in “Socialist” countries.

  3. Delegate authority to the Treasurer to set the tax rate? Has anybody read the state Constitution lately?

  4. This is going to the floor. It’ll likely be amended but not dramatically.
    Will pass the House, will pass the Senate, Scott will veto and the Legislature will override.

    Progressive Vermont, in every form, is nigh.

    Pop some popcorn. The brutal, unblinking reality of math is only a handful of years away.

  5. Yup Ivan you better believe I will get my money back!! I can see a paid vacation in my future!!