Vermont signed House Bill 187, making it the fifth state in the nation to mandate paid sick leave. The law is effective 1/1/2017 for most employers and it will require them to provide up to at least 24 hours (three days) of paid sick leave in a 12 month period to eligible employees. As of 1/1/2019, the permitted paid sick leave will increase to 40 hours (five days) in a 12-month period.
The law is effective 1/1/2017 for employers with more than five employees, while employers with five or fewer employees will have until 1/1/2018 to comply. All employers doing business in or operating within the state of Vermont are subject to the law; however, new employers will have one year from the date of hiring their first employee to become compliant.
Generally, full-time and part-time employees in the state of Vermont who work at least 18 hours per week are covered by the law, unless they fall within one of the excluded groups listed below:
- Individuals employed by an employer for 20 weeks or fewer in a calendar year in a job scheduled to last 20 weeks or fewer for the purpose of supporting or supplementing the employer’s workforce in certain situations, including employee absences, temporary skill shortages, seasonal workloads, and special assignments and projects;
- Individuals who work an average of less than 18 hours per week during a 12-month period;
- Individuals that work on a per diem or intermittent basis, work only when they indicate that they are available to work, are under no obligation to work for the employer offering the work, and have no expectation of continuing employment with the employer;
- Employees of health care facilities who work on a per diem or intermittent basis;
- Individuals under the age of 18;
- Certain substitute teachers;
- Individuals employed by the federal government;
- Certain high-level individuals employed by the state, including the state legislature and court employees;
- Guest workers employed pursuant to a federal work visa program or who are exempt from the visa issuance process for specified reasons; or
- Individuals who are either sole proprietors or partner owners of an unincorporated business who are excluded from the workers’ compensation provisions (independent contractors) or executive officers, managers, or members of a corporation or a limited liability company for whom the state labor department has approved an exclusion from the workers’ compensation provisions;
Accrual, Caps, and Carry-Over
Under the law, eligible employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 52 hours worked.
Employers may cap paid sick leave accrued to a maximum of 24 hours in a 12-month period. Beginning 1/1/2019, the accrual cap will increase to 40 hours in a 12-month period.
Employees must be allowed to carry over unused paid sick leave at the end of the year; however, employers that do not want to allow carry-over have two alternatives. They can either frontload the full amount of permitted paid sick leave at the beginning of the year, or pay out the employees for unused earned sick leave at the end of each year. Any frontloaded paid sick leave that is unused will not carry over to the next year. Please note that employers are not required to pay out employees for unused paid sick leave upon the employee’s termination of employment.
Notice, Posting, and Recordkeeping
In addition to providing notice of paid sick leave rights to new hires, employers are required to display a poster of the law in a conspicuous place at the worksite. This poster will be provided by the Commissioner of Vermont’s Department of Labor. Employers are also required to calculate the amount of paid sick time each employee has accrued and maintain a record of the calculations.
Employers should review their current sick leave policies to ensure that they are ready to comply with the new Vermont paid sick leave law, if applicable. Additionally, the employee handbook should be revisited to ensure that it reflects any updates to the company’s paid sick leave policy.
Please click here for the text of the law.
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