Legislation Providing Grants for “Front Line” Workers Heads for the Vermont Senate Floor, Future Uncertain

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved legislation, S.346, to provide grants for employees in certain “front line” essential occupations.  Qualified employees who worked 108 hours or me in a month could receive $1000 per month, and those working at least 34 hours but less than 108 could receive $600.  The grants would be available for two months.

The text of the bill as introduced, including the specific employers and jobs that would qualify, can be found clicking here.  In general, qualifying jobs are those whose principal function is to provide in-person services to members of the public or clients; clean or sanitize the premises of a covered employer location that is open to the general public; stock products on the premises of a certain defined retailers open to the general public; or perform activities that would reasonably result in a similarly elevated risk of being exposed to or contracting COVID-19.  Except in the case of employees of home health agencies and nursing homes, employees must earn an hourly base wage of $25.00 or less.

The Senate might vote on the bill as soon as this Friday.  However, questions remain about whether the proposal should qualify for use of federal support provided to Vermont, and with the significant cost of the program and demands on dwindling state revenues, the future prospects of the bill in the House or if sent to the Governor is far from certain.

If you have any questions about this bill, contact us at info@aivt.org.