After an initial walk through last week, the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee is beginning to take testimony in earnest this week on proposals to increase Vermont’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Although there are two bills introduced to do so in the House, H.64 and H.93, the latter bill has the primary backing by the House Democratic Caucus.
Under current law, Vermont’s minimum wage is due to increase to $10.50 on January 1, 2018. Under H.93, it would then increase to $11.50 January 1, 2019, to $12.50 January 1, 2020, to $13.50 January 1, 2021, and to $15 January 1, 2022. It would then continue to be indexed as under current law — the lesser of 5% or the CPI-U (US city average, not seasonally adjusted) annually (but never to the negative).
Further increases to the minimum wage baseline raises a number of concerns for employers and employees, including increasing diversion from other spending priorities like additional employment and capital investment, competitive disadvantages against lower labor cost states, upward pressure on higher wage jobs, and — particularly for employees — increased pressures toward making do with smaller workforces and greater automation. Traditionally higher wage employers like manufacturers and others are not immune from these concerns.
AIV and allied organizations will be engaging on this issue. Members and other companies concerned about this matter are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for updates and options for getting involved.