Flex time work schedule, minimum wage and Real ID laws go into effect Jan. 2

A new requirement that Vermont employers must consider granting flexible work schedules to employees goes into effect on Jan. 2.

The last tenet of the state’s equal pay act (H.99) mandates that employers at least listen to an employee’s request once every six months.

The bill also bars retaliation against any employee who seeks a change in schedule, similar to a section of the same statute that bans retaliation against workers who share information on the amount of their pay.

The employer is given fairly wide latitude in approving or rejecting the flex-time request, but supporters of the bill say it will empower workers and help them stay active in the work force.

“We think it provides a clear way they can balance work and family,” said Cary Brown, executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women. “More women choose to work part-time or drop out of the work force … (when faced with unworkable hours) and access to a flexible schedule can make them stay in the work force, and also allow men to take time with their families.”

Under the statute, employers do not have to grant a flexible working arrangement to employees if it would impose:

(A) the burden on an employer of additional costs;
(B) a detrimental effect on aggregate employee morale unrelated to discrimination or other unlawful employment practices;
(C) a detrimental effect on the ability of an employer to meet consumer demand;
(D) an inability to reorganize work among existing staff;
(E) an inability to recruit additional staff;
(F) a detrimental impact on business quality or business performance;
(G) an insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; and
(H) planned structural changes to the business.

The flexible schedule mandate was not entirely embraced by the business community.

Jim Harrison, president of the Vermont Grocers’ Association, said the nearly 1,000 retailers and suppliers his group represents already provide such arrangements.

“It happens every day already, why do we need legislation?” Harrison asked. “Have we slipped so far that we need this?”

Harrison said his members generally offer flexible hours to retain workers in a competitive market but saw some benefit to the bill.

“We may have disagreed whether it was necessary, but the law is a guidance document that provides a framework for meaningful workplace dialogue,” he said. “Many retailers are open seven days a week … employees all have commitments and any employer worth a grain a salt is going to look at all those and try to accommodate them. In most cases, working together with employees is win-win.”

Brown of the Commission on Women said writing the requirement into law shows that the state supports working families.

“Putting it in statute means we are strongly saying we value women and men spending time with their families,” she said.

MINIMUM WAGE

Also on Jan. 1, the state’s minimum wage will increase by 13 cents an hour to $8.73. The minimum wage for workers who are tipped will increase by 6 cents to $4.23 an hour.

Vermont is one of 13 states increasing the minimum wage at the first of the year. The national minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

REAL ID

Beginning Jan. 2, the Department of Motor Vehicles will offer so-called Real ID cards.

The federal REAL ID Act is designed to promote security by requiring states to meet “certain physical and procedural security standards for production and issuance of DLs (driver’s licenses) and ID cards, as well as certain documentation standards, including authentication and verification standards for proof of identity, date of birth, Social Security number, residence, and lawful status or presence.”

To obtain a REAL ID, people will need an original or certified copy of their birth certificate or other proof of identity, and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States. People will also need proof of their Social Security numbers.

Most Vermonters will be able to obtain a Real ID when they renew their licenses, however everyone will be required to have a Real ID by Dec. 1, 2017, to comply with federal guidelines. The federal compliance date for people born after Dec. 1, 1964, is Dec. 1, 2014.

After that date, federal officials may require REAL ID-approved identification when boarding aircraft, entering federal facilities that require ID and entering nuclear power plants, according to documents on the state’s website.

http://dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/pdf/DMV-VL092-Real_ID_FAQ.pdf



Tom BrownTom Brown

Comments

  1. Bill Olenick :

    Another Federal Mandate, stealing power from the states, and forcing a regulatory burden on the taxpayers of the state, with the Real ID mandate.
    Give em’ an inch and they’ll take a mile.
    Our elected officials need to fight, tooth and nail, against these power grabs from the feds but it appears that the majority of them do not understand how important it is to retain, preserve and protect states rights, against power grabs, by an out of control, and terribly managed, federal government,desperately deluging the states with regulations, that will keep the states dependent on them, because without these actions, their life’s blood,the taxpayers,become more independent, at the cost of power and control, by the Federal Government.
    Keep it local…

  2. Jim Barrett :

    How long will it be before some immigrant hollers discrimination!!!!! Right now you need an ID to get Obamacare but nothing to vote!!!!! Go Figure.

  3. paul poirier :

    I will be introducing legislation next week to raise the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour. The wage gap between the highest and lowest wage earners is the widest it has ever been in the history of this country. We as taxpayers are paying for needed benefits to the working poor while some employers pay below liveable wages. The question that must be answered is how much money would the state save in social benefits if people were paid a decent wage for a days work. The $12.50 is a calculation by state joint fiscal office of the legislature.

  4. The story can create the mistaken impression that everyone has to have a REAL ID license by 2017. That’s not the case. Only if you want to use your driver’s license as ID for entering federal buildings or boarding planes MIGHT you need a REAL ID license. The federal government has suggested but not set firm deadlines for such use. In any case, a passport can be used at any time to board aircraft — now and if/when the REAL ID requirement is imposed.

    I’m the executive director of the Vermont ACLU. The ACLU worries that REAL ID puts everyone’s personal information, including photos, in state databases that will be connected nationally. It’s a honeypot of sensitive information for hackers and identity thieves.

    And the yellow star on the license to show you’re REAL ID-compliant demonstrates a thoughtlessness that’s disturbing. Certainly, someone could have come up with a more appropriate symbol than that used by Nazis to identify Jews during the Third Reich.

    Here’s info from the Vermont DMV site detailing license requirements:

    Q. What will happen if I do not have a REAL ID marked card after my individual compliance date and attempt to board a commercial aircraft, access a federal facility that requires identification to enter, or enter a nuclear power plant?
    A. The federal agency responsible for security of the airport, federal facility or nuclear power plant will determine whether to permit access/entrance or subject you to additional screening as prescribed by that agency. No federal agencies have yet issued any guidance on how they will screen applicants after the individual compliance dates. The Vermont DMV will update this information as additional information becomes available.

    Q. Can I still drive if I have a valid DL that is not marked as REAL ID compliant?
    A. Yes. Even after your individual compliance date, your DL remains valid for all lawful driving purposes.

    Q. Can I still use my valid DL or ID card for identification after my individual compliance date if it is not marked as REAL ID compliant?
    A. Yes. Even after your individual compliance date, your card is still a valid form of identification.

    • Karl Riemer :

      “someone could have come up with a more appropriate symbol than that used by Nazis to identify Jews during the Third Reich”
      Weighty arguments and bases for discussion are seriously undermined by this… I can’t think of a more polite adjective… ridiculous contention.
      a) the Real ID star is a pentagram, as similar to Magen David as would be a pentagon, a hexagon or a maltese cross.
      b) the Real ID star is gold, not flat yellow.
      c) the Real ID star, as often as not, is excised from a gold disc, and is therefore whatever color is the background.
      The Real ID star could be evocative of families with soldiers killed in combat, or perfect attendance, or, in some circles, fidelity to sexual identity. It does not suggest Judaism, much less anti-semitism, to anyone with a lick of sense. Claiming that it does, bespeaks a willingness to spout any contrived nonsense in support of a position, which denigrates that position and insults us.

  5. John Moran :

    Paul Poirier’s bill to raise the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour is a modest proposal. I hope all legislators will support it.

  6. Wayne Andrews :

    In my town there is $7000 dollars budgeted for summer help. I guess the amount of hours budgeted will dwindle as well if this goes into effect.

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