(Montpelier) – Pregnant workers in Vermont have new legal protections in the workplace this year. As of January 1, 2018, employees experiencing healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies and needing reasonable workplace accommodations, such as rest breaks, a stool to lean or sit on, more frequent bathroom breaks, not lifting over a certain weight, flexible scheduling, or time off for medical appointments, are protected when making those requests, and unless they impose an undue hardship, employers must grant them. Vermont joins twenty-two other states and the District of Columbia in passing similar legislation.
Several state government agencies came together to launch a public communications campaign to help employees and employers know their rights and responsibilities under this new law. The Vermont Commission on Women worked with the Vermont Department of Health, the Civil Rights Unit of the Office of the Vermont Attorney General, and the Vermont Human Rights Commission to create two short and informative videos. This new video duo just premiered on YouTube: Pregnancy-Related Workplace Accommodations for Vermont Employees and Pregnancy-Related Workplace Accommodations for Vermont Employers.
Employers are encouraged to watch and to share these videos with human resources staff. They are easily found using search terms like “Vermont” and “pregnant.” Vermont workers can watch and learn about asking for what they need stay healthy on the job.
“This law provides great benefit to working women. Three-quarters of all women entering the workforce will be pregnant and working at the same time at some point in their lives. Women in Vermont earn only 84% of what men in Vermont earn, and while the reasons for this wage gap are multiple and varied, one critical reason is that women are much more likely to take time off work, to work part-time, or to leave the workforce altogether when their family responsibilities or their pregnancy clash with their work responsibilities,” said Vermont Commission on Women’s executive director, Cary Brown in her testimony for this legislation. “Many women feel that they have no choice when they leave work because of these clashes, and say that they would work more if they could resolve them. Simple workplace accommodations can make the difference between a woman’s ability to stay at work or not.”
(Montpelier) - Today at one o’clock Governor Scott signed H.294, a new law prohibiting inquiries about salary history.
It prohibits employers from requesting salary history of prospective employees or their current or former employers, requiring the prospective employees’ prior salary history meet minimum or maximum criteria, and determining whether to interview a prospective employee based on their current or past compensation. If the prospective employee voluntarily discloses previous or current compensation in the hiring process, the employer, once they offer the job, can seek to confirm that information. In addition, employers may inquire about salary expectations or requirements, and provide information about the position’s salary and compensation.
At the signing, Governor Scott, addressing the legislation as a workforce initiative, remarked, “This important piece of legislation will allow workers who have suffered from lower wages due to gender, race, or other forms of discrimination an opportunity to get out of the pay gap cycle, and receive equal pay for equal work. For those who have been held back by their pay history, the legislation opens the door to new opportunities. This will prevent hiring equally skilled or experienced employees at different rates simply because one person was paid more in a previous job. Prior to this bill, low wage workers could be held back from climbing the economic ladder, because they were required to reveal their past wages when applying for this new position.”
Cary Brown, Executive Director of Vermont Commission on Women, provided testimony in both the House and the Senate on this bill and its relationship to the gender wage gap. She stated, “When the pay at a new job is based on the pay at an old job, this can force women, and especially women of color, to carry pay discrepancies with them from job to job. A pay disparity early on can haunt a woman for her entire career.”
Equal Pay Day’s date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year due to the gender wage gap.
The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW), the League of Women Voters of Vermont, and Vermont Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) invite the public to join this annual gathering of advocates at the State House the morning of Equal Pay Day, Tuesday, April 10th, to help bring attention to the gender wage gap.
Upon opening of the day’s legislative session, projected to be 10:30 a.m., a resolution designating it Equal Pay Day in Vermont will be read in the House, put forth by lead sponsor Representative Mollie Burke and other policymakers, and observed by advocates (like you) dressed in red, symbolizing women being “in the red” due to the gender wage gap.
At noon Governor Scott will sign an Equal Pay Day proclamation in his ceremonial office. This event will feature several speakers, including Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant, UVM's Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Marilyn Grunewald, BPW Parliamentarian, and Cary Brown, VCW's Executive Director.
Change The Story VT (CTS) along with Vermont Business and Professional Women invite policy makers and guests to enjoy coffee in the cafeteria after lunch to mark Equal Pay Day and share information about how the gender wage gap impacts Vermonters. CTS partner Vermont Works for Women will provide their delicious Peanut Butter Bars by suggested wage gap-related donation.
We’re excited to be joined in the State House by advocates participating in the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence’s annual Legislative Day!
Interested in joining us? We’ve love to have you! RSVPs to VCW.firstname.lastname@example.org are appreciated, but not necessary.
Choosing not to negotiate is leaving some serious money on the table. Over 50% of women say they are apprehensive about negotiating and only 30% of women consistently negotiate salaries. For many of us, even the thought of negotiating makes us nervous. How much do I ask for? When is the best time to do it? What if I don't feel like I deserve more? Let's answer these questions and more! This workshop is designed to teach you how to negotiate with confidence. We'll make sure you avoid the traps many of us fall into and leave plenty of time for practice. Vermont Commission on Women's workshops are sponsored by the New England Women’s Policy Initiative and will be facilitated by Lindsey Lathrop, Career Coach at FromWithin Coaching.