Bill addresses paid sick time for Vermonters
By Neal P. Goswami
MONTPELIER — A House panel began hearing testimony Tuesday on a bill that would require Vermont businesses to provide paid sick time to employees.
The issue is pitting advocates and some businesses owners against each other. Providing paid sick time will boost public health by allowing workers to remain home when they are ill. It will also help lower the cost of health care by allowing workers to address medical concerns before they become more serious, according to Lindsay DesLauriers, a public policy associate for Voices for Vermont's Children.
Mark Nicholson, a construction company owner representing Associated General Contractors, told the House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee that business owners should not be saddled with the additional cost of providing sick time.
“If it is for the public good I think it needs to be paid for by the public, not put on the backs of employers,” he said. “The construction industry believes in benefits, but we do not need to have them dictated by the state. Benefits are a way we attract good benefits. We take care of our employees.”
The bill being considered by the committee would require all full- and part-time employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employees could accrue up to 56 hours of paid sick time per year.