City of Burlington Issues Annual Report on Livable Wage Ordinance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 2, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

City of Burlington Issues Annual Report on Livable Wage Ordinance
Finds Broad Compliance, Takes Enforcement Actions against Violations for the First Time

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and City Attorney Eileen Blackwood today released the annual report of actions the City of Burlington has taken in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) to enforce the City’s Livable Wage Ordinance, which requires City employees and employees of contractors retained by the City to earn a livable wage. The City investigated two new complaints, conducted three records compliance checks, and for the first time issued municipal tickets for a Livable Wage violation and suspended the business from operating as a City contractor. The contractor has paid the waiver fee of $200 for each of five tickets, has supplied each employee with restitution for lost wages, and has been suspended from working on City contracts for nine months until June 1.
 

“The City’s Livable Wage enforcement system in 2013 did little to ensure that City of Burlington contractors complied with the Ordinance,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “For more than five years, we have worked to fix the system, and this fiscal year we took strong enforcement actions to ensure that covered workers are paid the wages they deserve. This progress would not have been possible without the hard work and diligence of our City Attorney’s Office, CAO, and Designated Accountability Monitor.”
 

“Over the past five years, the City Attorney’s Office, the CAO and the Designated Accountability Monitor have committed to increasing awareness and understanding of, and compliance with, the City’s Livable Wage Ordinance by ensuring annual certifications are received from contractors, conducting trainings and disseminating information, responding to complaints, and now in FY18 commencing regular compliance checks and imposing enforcement penalties,” said City Attorney Eileen Blackwood. “Our goal in the coming fiscal year is to work on targeted training for City staff and contractors, while continuing to hold the City and its contractors accountable for ensuring that all covered employees receive a livable wage.”
 

Background: Five Years of Ordinance Reform and Increased Enforcement
The City of Burlington adopted its Livable Wage Ordinance in 2001, however, there was little enforcement of the ordinance with respect to City contractors in the years leading up to 2013.  In 2013, at Mayor Weinberger’s direction, City Attorney Eileen Blackwood and the City Attorney’s Office conducted a comprehensive review of all City contracts covered by the ordinance, finding that fewer than half of the 160 contracts reviewed even referenced the Livable Wage and only 14 percent were in full compliance.  Immediately after the report, the City began enforcing the Ordinance aggressively, including the requirements that contractors provide an annual certification of compliance with the Ordinance and incorporating compliance language into contracts.  A Livable Wage webpage was created to provide better access to the Livable Wage information. 

 

In October 2013, the City amended the Ordinance to clarify the type of contracts included in it and to include certain seasonal or temporary employees of the City.  In addition, compliance provisions were added to allow the City’s Chief Administrative Officer to conduct compliance checks and the City Attorney’s Office to investigate complaints and impose penalties.  The revised Ordinance also calls for the appointment of a Designated Accountability Monitor that provides training, reviews employee complaints, and monitors workplaces, as well as the establishment of an annual Livable Wage report to the City Council from the City Attorney’s Office.
 

FY18 and FY19 Livable Wage
In FY18, the livable wage for City employees remained the same as FY17:  $14.24 if the employer offers health insurance, $15.83 if it does not.

 

Pursuant to the City of Burlington Code of Ordinances, Chapter 21, Article VI, section 21-82(b), the livable wage rates for covered employers, including the City of Burlington, for Fiscal Year 2019 (as of July 1, 2018), will be $14.52 per hour if the employer offers health insurance, or $16.20 if the employer does not.
 

This notice and the livable wage has been posted in City Hall, on the City's webpage, circulated to City departments, provided to the Designated Accountability Monitor, and is available at the Clerk/Treasurer's Office. A copy of this notice will also be provided to covered employers who request individual notice and provide contact information.
 

* See FY18 Annual Report on Livable Wage Ordinance

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Press Release Date: 
05/02/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office