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NO. 47. AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT WAGE BOARD.

(H.124)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 21 V.S.A. § 383 is amended to read:

§ 383. DEFINITIONS

Terms used in this subchapter have the following meanings, unless a different meaning is clearly apparent from the language or context:

(1) "Commissioner," the commissioner of labor and industry or *[his

]*

designee;

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(3) "Occupation," an industry, trade or business or branch thereof or class of work *[therein]* in which workers are gainfully employed*[;

(4) "Wage board," a board created as provided in section 387 of this title]*.

Sec. 2. 21 V.S.A. § 385 is amended to read:
§ 385. ADMINISTRATION

The commissioner has full power and authority:

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(3) To require from *[such]* any employer full and correct statements in writing of the wages paid to all employees employed by *[him]* that employer in any industry, business or occupation with the exceptions set forth in section 383 of this title;

(4) To *[appoint with the approval of the governor a wage board with authority:

(A) to]* recommend and determine the amount of deductions for board, lodging, apparel or other items or services supplied by the employer or such other conditions or circumstances as may be usual in a particular employer-employee relationship, including gratuities, provided, however, that in no case shall the total remuneration received by an employee, including wages, board, lodging, apparel or other items or services supplied by the employer *[or such other conditions or circumstances]*, including gratuities, equal *[a sum]* to less than the minimum wage rate set forth in section 384 of this title*[, and]*;

*[

(B) to]* (5) To recommend a suitable scale of rates for learners, apprentices and *[handicapped]* persons with disabilities, which may be less than the regular minimum wage rate for experienced *[and nonhandicapped]* workers without disabilities.

Sec. 3. REPEAL

21 V.S.A. § 390a, relating to investigation of student employment, is repealed.

Sec. 4. 21 V.S.A. § 391 is amended to read:

§ 391. *[FURTHER PROCEEDINGS, ORDER]* MODIFICATION OF WAGE

ORDERS

*[

(a) A wage board shall submit its report and recommendations to the commissioner who shall file it in his office as a public record together with such of the regulations recommended by the board and with such modifications and amendments to the regulations or order as he may approve and then conduct public hearings giving due notice thereof to all interested parties. Within thirty days after such hearings, the commissioner with the approval of the governor shall accept or reject such report and recommendations either in]* *[whole or in part. He may at any time confer with the wage board which may make such changes in the report and recommendations as it deems fit. If the report and recommendations are rejected, the commissioner may resubmit the matter to the same wage board or to a new wage board. If the report and recommendation are accepted either in whole or in part, the commissioner shall make a minimum wage order which shall define the increase in minimum wage rates in the occupation or occupations as recommended in the report of the wage board and shall include the regulations as approved by the commissioner, such order to be effective sixty days from the date of making thereof.

(b) At any time after a minimum wage order providing for minimum wage rate has been in effect for six months or more, the commissioner on his own motion or on a petition of fifty or more residents of the state may reconsider the minimum wage rate or rates set therein and reconvene the same wage board or appoint a new wage board to recommend whether or not the rate or rates contained in such order should be modified; provided, however, that in no event shall any such modification reduce the minimum wage rate set forth in section 384 of this title. The report and recommendations of such wage board shall be dealt with in the same manner prescribed in subsection (a) of this section.

(c)]* The commissioner with the approval of the governor may from time to time propose *[such]* modifications of or additions to any regulations included in any minimum wage order *[of the commissioner without reference to a wage board, as he]* *[may deem to effectuate the purposes of this subchapter, provided such the proposed modifications or additions could have been included legally in the original order, and shall give notice of a public hearing to be held not less than fifteen days after such publication at which all persons may be heard in respect to such proposed modifications or additions. After such hearing, the commissioner may make an order putting into effect such of the proposed modifications of or additions to]* *[the regulations as he]* which the commissioner deems appropriate.

Sec. 5. 21 V.S.A. § 392 is amended to read:
§ 392. COURT PROCEEDINGS

If *[at any time after a report of a wage board containing findings and determinations as to minimum wage rates has been filed with the commissioner and treated by him as provided in section 391 of this title and]* any employer *[affected thereby]* covered by a wage order has failed *[for a period of two months to pay such minimum wage rates]* to comply with the wage order within 10 days after receiving notification of the violation, the commissioner shall take court action to enforce *[such minimum wage rates]* the order. *[The commissioner shall file in the office of the clerk of the superior court the record of hearing before the wage board, together with]* *[its report, findings and determinations as filed with the commissioner and his certificate of service on employers. Unless application for stay of proceedings and for hearing have been filed in the office of said clerk and have been allowed by a superior judge or a justice of the supreme court, a superior judge shall render within thirty days after the filing of the papers with the said clerk his decision affirming or disaffirming the minimum wage rates stated in the report, findings and determinations of the wage board, but he shall not disaffirm such minimum wage rates unless he finds from the record or after hearing that the same were fixed and determined by the wage board without any substantial evidence in justification thereof. Appeal may be had from the decision of the superior judge only on questions of law.

]*

Sec. 6. 21 V.S.A. § 394 is amended to read:

§ 394. PENALTIES

*[

(a) Any employer or any of his agents or the officer or agent of any corporation who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee because such employee has served or is about to serve on a wage board or has testified or is about to testify before any wage board, or because such employer believes that said employee may serve on any wage board or may testify before any wage board or in any investigation under the provisions of this subchapter shall be fined not more than $200.00 for each offense.

(b)]*(a) Any employer, subject to this subchapter or any regulations or orders issued thereunder, or any of *[his]* the employer’s agents or the officer or agent of any corporation who pays or permits to be paid or agrees to pay to any employee engaged in any industry or occupation *[as set forth herein]* less than the applicable rate to which *[such]* the employee is entitled under *[or by virtue of]* this subchapter, shall be fined not more than $100.00*[, and]* for each day *[in any week on which any such]* the employee is paid less than the rate *[applicable under the provisions of]* required under this subchapter*[, or any regulation or order issued thereunder, shall constitute a separate offense]*.

*[

(c)]*(b) Any employer or any of *[his]* the employer’s agents or the officer or agent of any corporation, who fails to keep the records required under *[the provisions of]* this subchapter, or refuses to permit the commissioner to enter *[his]* the place of business, or who fails to furnish *[such]* the records to the commissioner upon demand, shall be fined not more than $100.00.

Sec. 7. 21 V.S.A. § 395 is amended to read:

§ 395. CIVIL ACTIONS

If any employee *[employed or occupied]* *[in any industry or occupation as set forth herein]* is paid by an employer less than the applicable wage rate to which *[such]* the employee is entitled *[or by virtue of the provisions of]* under this subchapter, *[such]* the employee shall recover, in a civil action, twice the *[full]* amount of *[such]* the minimum wage less any amount actually paid *[to him]* by the employer, together with costs and *[such]* reasonable *[attorney’s]* attorney fees *[as may be allowed by the court]*, and any agreement between an employer and an employee to work for less than *[such]* the wage rates is no defense to *[such]* the action.

Sec. 8. REPEAL

21 V.S.A. § 390 (report) is repealed.

Approved: June 12, 2001