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