It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Vermont statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Vermont labor laws every small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: Employers are required to provide eligible employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 52 hours worked. 
    • Accrual may be capped to 40 hours in a 12-month period. 
  • Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
  • Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay employees for time spent on jury duty, but may not penalize the employee in any way. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays. 
  • Voting Leave: No statute.  
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.
  • Witness Leave: Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for appearing as a witness pursuant to a summons.
    • The employee’s witness leave counts as time worked for determining seniority, fringe benefits, credit towards vacations, and other rights, privileges, and benefits of employment.
  • Crime Victim Leave: An employee who is the victim of a crime must be allowed unpaid time off to attend legal proceedings related to the crime and they are entitled to reinstatement upon their return from leave.
    • Employees are eligible if they have worked for the employer for at least six months and average 20 hours or more per week.
      • Employers must not discriminate against crime victims in any other term or condition of employment.
  • Town Meeting Leave: Employers must allow an employee to take leave to attend an annual Town Hall Meeting, provided they have given at least seven days’ notice.
  • Military Leave: Employers must allow their employees who are service members to take up to 15 days of military leave.
    • After their leave, the employee is entitled to return to their job with the same seniority, status, and pay that they would have accrued if they had not taken the leave.

Final Paycheck

  • Employees who are terminated or laid off must be paid all final wages within 72 hours of the discharge. 
  • Employees who quit must be paid all final wages by the next regularly scheduled payday. If there is no established payday, they must be paid by the following Friday.

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage in Vermont is $10.96. 
  • The state minimum wage is to be reviewed every year and increased by 5 percent or the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is smaller. 

Pay Practices

Employers in Vermont must pay their employees at least weekly unless they give employees advance written notice that pay will be biweekly or semimonthly.

Tipped Wages

  • The minimum wage for tipped employees is $5.39. 
  • The tipped minimum wage is to be adjusted by the same percentage as the standard minimum wage each year. 

Child Labor

  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age may not work:
    • More than 3 hours a day on school days
    • More than 8 hours a day on non-school days
    • More than 18 hours a week during school weeks
    • More than 40 hours a week during non-school weeks
    • Outside of the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day
    • During school hours 
    • When school is not in session
  • Minors 16 and 17 years old do not have time restrictions, but may not work in hazardous jobs such as manufacturing, construction, and similar fields. 

Hiring

  • Background Checks: Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.
  • Credit and Investigative Checks: Employers in Vermont may not obtain credit reports on their applicants or employees unless under the following circumstances:
    • The information is required by State or federal law or regulation
    • The job involves access to confidential financial information
    • The employer is a financial institution or credit union
    • The job is for a law enforcement officer, emergency medical personnel, or a firefighter
    • The job requires a financial fiduciary responsibility to the employer or a client of the employer, including the authority to issue payments, collect debts, transfer money, or enter into contracts
    • The employer can demonstrate that the information is a valid and reliable predictor of employee performance in the specific job
    • The job involves access to an employer’s payroll information
  • Arrest and Conviction Checks: Under the “Ban the Box” law, employers are prohibited from asking about criminal histories on initial employment applications.
    • If employers ask for criminal history information later in the hiring process, applicants must be given the opportunity to explain the information, including any rehabilitation.
  • Mandatory Background Checks: Employers are required to conduct background checks on the following types of employees or applicants:
    • School personnel, including student teachers, superintendents, and employees of contractors who may have unsupervised contact with children
    • Work-study students who will have unsupervised contact with schoolchildren
    • Childcare personnel
    • Personnel, including volunteers, who work for a commissioner-designated shelter
    • Personnel, including principal officers and board members, of a cannabis dispensary
    • Home health agency personnel who provide direct care
    • Residential treatment program personnel, including volunteers and student interns, who may have unsupervised contact with children
    • Personnel who work for an emergency management organization and who have access to facilities, materials, or information that requires a security clearance

Drug and Alcohol Testing

  • Employers may test their applicants and employees for drugs or alcohol only if they follow certain requirements, as outlined below.
    • Applicants: Employers may test applicants only if all the following conditions are met:
      • The employer offers them the job conditioned on passing a drug or alcohol test
      • The employer provides written notice of the testing procedures and a list of drugs they test for
      • The employer provides a written statement that therapeutic levels of medically prescribed drugs will not be reported
      • The employer follows the following state requirements of administering the test
    • Employees: Employers may test employees only if all the following conditions are met:
      • The employer has probable cause to believe that the employee is using drugs on the job or is under the influence of drugs on the job
      • The employer has a rehabilitation program available to the employee
      • The employer does not discharge an employee for a positive test if the employee completes the rehabilitation program
      • The employer follows the following state requirements of administering the test
  • Employers are generally required to accommodate off-duty medical use of marijuana.

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.
    • Vermont law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
  • Employers are required to provide “reasonable opportunity” to eat and use the restroom. 
    • Federal law does not require employers to provide meal periods or breaks, but if they choose to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid. 
    • Federal law also requires that lactating women be provided with reasonable breaks to express milk for up to one year after the birth of a child.

Required Posters

The State of Vermont requires that employers post the following notices in a prominent location:

  • Crime Victims Leave Poster
  • Earned Sick Time
  • Employers’ Liability and Workers’ Compensation
  • Employers’ Reinstatement Liability (regarding workers’ compensation reinstatement)
  • Child Labor Law
  • Accommodations for Pregnant Employees
  • Family Leave
  • Healthcare Whistleblowers’ Protection Act
  • Minimum Wage
  • Sexual Harassment Is Illegal
  • VOSHA Health and Safety Protection on the Job
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Posting of Safety Records

Employment Discrimination

  • Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of:
    • Race
    • Color
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation
    • Gender
    • Gender identity
    • Religion
    • National origin
    • Pregnancy
    • Genetic information, including family medical history
    • Physical or mental disability
    • Child or spousal support withholding
    • Military or veteran status
    • Citizenship and/or immigration status
  • Additionally, Vermont employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of:
    • Credit report or credit history
    • AIDS/HIV
    • Place of birth
    • Wage garnishment for consumer debts
  • Employers may not discharge or discriminate against employees or applicants because they are a member of the National Guard or federal reserves or engage in military activities.
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       

Termination

  • Vermont is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 
  • Vermont has certain requirements for employers who are closing their business or conducting a mass layoff. A “business closing” or “mass layoff” means at least 50 employees lose their jobs in Vermont within a 90-day period.
    • Employers should provide 45 days’ notice to the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development and to the commissioner. This notice must include the approximate number of affected employees, their job titles, the anticipated layoff date, and the affected work sites.
    •  Employers should also provide 30 days’ notice to the commissioner of the actual number of affected employees, their job titles, the date of the layoff, and other information necessary to determine unemployment benefits and to access resources to mitigate adverse impacts of the layoff.
    • Employers should provide 30 days’ notice to the local chief elected official of the municipality, affected employees, and, if applicable, employees’ union representative.

Whistleblower Protection

  • Employers in Vermont may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for most types of whistleblowing. Examples of protected activity include the following:
    • Exercising their rights regarding workplace safety, such as reporting an unsafe working condition
    • Filing a complaint or participating in an investigation regarding discrimination
    • Filing a complaint or participating in an investigation of a violation regarding parental and family leave
    • Filing a complaint regarding a violation of the Vermont Polygraph Protection Act
    • Filing a claim or participating in a proceeding regarding a violation of state labor law
    • Filing a claim or participating in an investigation regarding a violation of military-leave laws

COBRA

  • COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.”
  • Vermont’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 18 months. Employers must provide an employee with a notice of their COBRA rights within 30 days of the triggering event.

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in Vermont.

Miscellaneous Laws

Salary History Inquiry Ban

  • Employers may not ask about a prospective employee’s current or past compensation at any point during the hiring process.
  • This prohibition includes seeking information from or through a third party.
  • Employers also may not use current or past compensation to satisfy minimum or maximum requirements or to determine whether to interview a candidate.

Healthcare Fund Contribution

  • Employers with five or more employees who do not offer insurance to all their employees must pay a “Health Care Fund Contribution.” The Health Care Fund Contribution Assessment (HCFCA) is administered by the Department of Taxes.
  • The assessment is paid for every uncovered full-time equivalent employee. To find out how many uncovered full-time equivalent employees an employer has, an employer must do the following:
    • Divide the total hours worked by all uncovered employees during a quarter by 520. No matter how many hours are worked by an employee in a quarter, no more than 520 hours can be assessed for one individual employee.
    • Round down to the nearest whole number and then subtract 4. The reason 4 is subtracted is because the first four uncovered employees are exempt for all employers
    • The resulting number is the number of uncovered employees for which the employer must pay the assessment.
    • Multiply the number of uncovered employees by the rate. The resulting number is the contribution the employer must pay to the Health Care Fund.

       

Social Media

  • A Vermont employer may not require, request, or coerce an employee or applicant to do any of the following:
    • Disclose a username, password, or other means of authentication, or turn over an unlocked personal electronic device for the purpose of accessing the employee’s or applicant’s social media account
    • Access a social media account in the presence of the employer
    • Divulge or present any content from the employee’s or applicant’s social media account
    • Change the account or privacy settings of the employee’s or applicant’s social media account to increase third-party access to its contents
    • Add anyone, including the employer, to their list of contacts associated with a social media account
  • Employers may request that an employee share specifically identified content for the purpose of
    • Complying with the employer’s legal and regulatory obligations
    • Investigating an allegation of the unauthorized transfer or disclosure of an employer’s proprietary or confidential information or financial data through an employee’s or an applicant’s social media account
    • Investigating an allegation of unlawful harassment, threats of violence in the workplace, or discriminatory or disparaging content concerning another employee

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