Chances are, unless you work at a school or took one of your precious vacation days, you got up this morning, dug your way out of 11-plus inches of fresh snow and went to work.
But if you are from out of state and were in
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Vermont to ski or snowmobile over the weekend, Gov. Phil Scott wants you to take a “powder day.”
He didn’t come out and say so, but the underlying presumption is that employers of out-of-state visitors are supposed to give them a bonus day off because it snowed in Vermont in winter.
“I’ve proclaimed Monday an official powder day,” Scott said in a statement issued Sunday night. “And, while I can’t grant official pardons out of state, I certainly hope all will be granted a ‘snow day’ pardon. Visitors can feel free to tell their boss Vermont’s governor asked them to stay.”
Vermonters, meanwhile, are not included in the “declaration.” So just keep toiling away at your job and ignore any thoughts of skiing through fresh powder.
The somewhat whimsical declaration was meant to draw attention to the fact that the skiing will be about as good today as Vermont has seen in two years, maybe longer.
The governor wants out-of-staters to stay, eat and buy another day’s lift ticket because that’d be good for Vermont’s economy. Never mind the economy of the state or province they came from.
It’s a curious suggestion from a governor who speaks often of the value of a strong work ethic.
Anyone with a strong work ethic who was visiting Vermont for the weekend and knew they were supposed to work Monday would have checked the weather forecast and either arranged to take Monday off or hit the road ahead of the storm.
Rebecca Kelley, the governor’s spokesperson, disregarded that in defending the proclamation in an email.
“The intent was primarily focused on those travelers who were here for the weekend and wouldn’t be able to (or would prefer not to) travel home during the storm,” she wrote. “Tourism plays a significant role in our economy, so as a huge economic driver it was an opportunity to highlight the ideal timing of the storm with one of the busier travel weeks-weekends of the season.”
So it is that the governor heralded the idea of doing exactly what some Vermont employers worry their employees do when a good layer of powder falls. A year ago, when legislators were discussing a bill that mandates employers to offer some paid sick leave, business owners balked. One of the concerns they cited was that employees would call in “sick” and take a “powder day” to go skiing. The measure passed, though.
Scott, as lieutenant governor, reluctantly went along with the paid sick leave legislation but concurred with employers that it was an unwarranted burden on their bottom lines.
Apparently not for out-of-state employers, though. As long as their employees are spending money in Vermont.