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Paid Sick Leave Bill Misses Deadline

A bill to require employers to provide earned sick days didn't make its deadline at the Vermont Statehouse Friday.
MONTPELIER - A bill to require employers to provide earned sick days didn't make its deadline at the Vermont Statehouse Friday.

H.208 was referred the House Appropriations committee after it passed the House General, Housing and Military Affairs committee 6-1 in February. Appropriations bills had to pass out of committee by Friday in order to have a chance of passing this legislative session. Vice-chair of the committee, State Rep. Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) says the bill was not brought up for consideration Friday.

A spokesperson for House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morrisville) said the bill was unlikely to be brought to a vote this session. Speaker Smith told FOX44/ABC22 last week that the bill didn't have enough votes to pass.

The bill would have allowed both full- and part-time workers to accrue paid sick leave based on how many hours they worked. It would include time off to take care of sick family members. Supporters say many workers have to work while sick because they can't afford to lose wages. Opponents say it will hurt businesses.

Supporters of the bill from the Vermont Workers' Center gathered in the House Appropriations committee Friday, hoping to call attention to the bill's quiet death. It would need to be given an extension to continue in the legislature this session.

Governor Peter Shumlin never outright expressed support for the bill, but said he "supports the concept" of paid sick leave.

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