MONTPELIER, Vermont — Vermont lawmakers are expected to again consider legislation this session that would require businesses to provide paid sick leave.
Supporters say the legislation is about more than workers' rights. It's also about public health, worker safety and child well-being.
Proponent Stephanie Hainley, of Main Street Alliance, a business advocacy group pushing for the change, says no one should have to choose between health and the ability to support oneself and loved ones.
"This bill ensures that all employers in Vermont provide jobs that build our communities, reflect our values and support our families," she said.
Calling in sick means giving up a day's pay for roughly 60,000 Vermont workers.
A paid sick leave bill failed to pass during the 2014 legislative session after opposition from business groups.
Jeff Larson, owner of Gilmore Home Center in Bomoseen, told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1Ba4Qxm ) that he offers his 16 full-time employees paid sick days, but he doesn't feel a mandate is needed.
"Moving into something more mandated, something where we're accountable for hours worked, the accumulation of hours due, the hours that were taken, for something that we're already providing, we just don't feel it necessary, and it could add a level of accounting that takes extra time," he said.
House Speaker Shap Smith said he doesn't think the bill that was defeated last year will fare better this year.
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