• Vt. Senate keeps newspaper carriers independent
     | May 01,2013

    MONTPELIER — The Vermont Senate approved a measure Tuesday that would exempt newspapers from paying unemployment insurance for people who deliver those newspapers.

    The 18-10 vote Tuesday goes against a proposed state Labor Department rule that would require newspapers to collect unemployment insurance on carriers. The department has until June 1 to decide whether to implement it.

    The delay in the rule’s implementation gave lawmakers time to enact a provision that would overrule the rule, the Burlington Free Press reports.

    “Newspaper carriers always have been and still are independent contractors,” said Sen. Kevin Mullin, a Rutland Republican who sponsored the amendment.

    But Senate Finance Chairman Tim Ashe, a Democrat and Progressive from Chittenden County, argued the Legislature shouldn’t write exemptions for specific industries.

    “We should create broad direction in statute,” he said.

    Publishers have argued that carriers are “direct sellers” with whom newspapers contract to market and deliver their papers.

    The provision about newspaper carriers was part of a bill that would give employers a break on increased rates if they were forced to lay off workers because of a natural disaster, such as Tropical Storm Irene.

    The House will still have to approve the measure before it can become law.

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