Hours & Pay Regulations
Vermont minimum wage laws require employers to pay employees for all hours worked do not address when an employer must count employee time as hours worked for purposes of its minimum wage and overtime requirements. The standards set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act related to hours worked may provide reasonable guidance.
As the Vermont statutes do not address compensation for travel time of employees, we defer to the federal regulations in this area. Generally, in determining whether travel time is working time, the kind of travel involved is evaluated. Ordinary home to work travel, which is a normal incident of employment, is not compensable. However, several instances of travel time are considered work time for which the employee is due to proper compensation. In addition, in most circumstances, travel for a special one-day assignment in another city, travel all in a day’s work and travel away from home when it cuts into the employee’s workday are all considered working hours for the employee.
Employees covered by Vermont’s overtime law must be paid time-and-one-half their regular rates for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.
Under Vermont law, an employer must provide its employees with ‘reasonable opportunity’ to eat and use toilet facilities in order to protect the health and hygiene of the employee.
Breast Feeding Break
Effective July 1, 2008, Vermont’s Nursing mothers legislation passed into law. This law provides the following protection for nursing mothers in the workplace. For an employee who is a nursing mother, the employer shall for three years after the birth of a child. Provide reasonable time, compensated or uncompensated, throughout the day for the employee to express breast milk for her nursing child. The decision to provide compensation shall be in the sole discretion of the employer unless modified by a collective bargaining agreement & make reasonable accommodation to provide appropriate private space that is not a bathroom stall.
An employer is not required to provide its employees with paid or unpaid holidays (such as ‘Memorial Day’ or ‘Thanksgiving’), paid or unpaid sick leave (except under Parental and Family Leave Act), paid or unpaid vacation time or severance pay when an employee leaves the business. However, employers who are parties to written agreements, which can be in the form of an employee handbook, memorandum, correspondence, etc., providing for vacation time, sick leave, holidays and/or severance pay are liable to their employees for these benefits.
Effective January 1, 2018, the state’s hourly minimum wage has increased to $10.50, and the state’s hourly minimum cash wage for tipped workers is to increase to $5.25, based on a maximum tip credit of $5.25. The state’s hourly minimum wage effective January 1, 2019, is scheduled to rise to $11.50.
Effective January 1, 2019, and every January 1 thereafter, the state’s hourly minimum wage is to be increased by five percent or the percentage increase of the consumer price index, U.S. city average, not seasonally adjusted, as calculated by the Labor Department, for the 12 months preceding the previous September 1, whichever is smaller. In no event is the state’s minimum hourly wage to be decreased. The minimum wage is to be rounded off to the nearest cent.
Effective January 1, 2018, the state’s hourly minimum cash wage for tipped workers has increased to $5.25, based on a maximum tip credit of $5.25.
Under Vermont law, an employer must provide its employees with ‘reasonable opportunity’ to eat and use toilet facilities in order to protect the health and hygiene of the employee. Federal law mandates that if an employer provides a lunch period, it is counted as ‘hours worked’ and must be paid unless the lunch period lasts at least thirty minutes and the employee is completely uninterrupted and free from work.
When an employee serves as a juror or participates as a witness in a proceeding, his/her employer is not required to pay the employee’s wages. However, for the purpose of determining seniority, fringe benefits, credit towards vacations and other rights, privileges and benefits of employment, employees shall be considered in the service of their employer during all times while serving as jurors or appearing as witnesses.
Vermont’s Parental Leave Law covers employers with 10 or more workers who work an average of 30 hours per week over the course of a year. Vermont’s Family Leave Law covers employers with 15 or more workers who work an average of 30 hours per week over the course of a year. A worker who has worked for a covered employer for an average of 30 hours a week for a year is entitled to leave under these laws. During any 12 month period, the worker is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave:
- Parental Leave: during the pregnancy and/or after childbirth; or, within a year following the initial placement of a child 16 years of age or younger with the worker for the purpose of adoption; or
- Family Leave: for the serious illness of the worker, worker’s child, stepchild, ward, foster child, party to a civil union, parent, spouse, or parent of the worker’s spouse; and, in addition to the leave, a worker is entitled to short-term family leave of up to 4 hours in any 30 day period (but not more than 24 hours in any 12 month period) of unpaid leave.
During any 12 month period, the worker is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave:
- To participate in preschool or school activities directly related to the academic advancement of the worker’s child, stepchild, foster child or ward who lives with the worker; or
- To attend or to accompany the worker’s child, stepchild, foster child or ward who lives with the worker or the worker’s parent, spouse or parent-in-law to routine medical or dental appointments; or
- To accompany the worker’s parent, spouse, or parent-in-law to other appointments for professional services related to their care and well-being; or
- To respond to a medical emergency involving the employee’s child, stepchild, foster child or ward who lives with the worker or the employee’s parent, spouse or parent-in-law.
Any person who, in order to serve as a member of the General Assembly, must leave a full-time position in the employ of any employer, shall be entitled to a temporary or partial leave of absence for the purpose of allowing such employee to perform any official duty in connection with his or her elected office. Such leave of absence shall not cause loss of job status, seniority, or the right to participate in insurance and other employee benefits during the leave of absence.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides employees who are called up to perform military service with reemployment rights, USERRA protects employees who are gone from work for up to five years. Employees may choose to use their paid vacation time for some of this period, but the choice is theirs. When possible, employees must give you reasonable advance notice that they will need leave. If they get short notice, so will the employer. If you have a health plan, you must offer it to them for 18 months. There are restrictions on how much the employer may charge them for it. If military leave is 90 days or less, the employer must promptly return the employee to the same job he or she would have had if he or she had worked during that time. Employees continue to accrue seniority while on military leave and must be given any raises and promotions associated with that seniority. If leave is more than 90 days, the employer may substitute a different job with the same pay, status, and seniority, as the job the employee would have had. If military leave lasts more than 30 days, the law provides job protection for returning employees for six to 12 months (depending on the length of her leave). During that time, the employee may only be terminated for cause.
Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018, an employee shall accrue earned sick time on all hours worked at a rate of no less than one hour of earned sick time for every 52 hours worked, including overtime hours, of which a minimum of 24 hours shall be usable per annual period.
After December 31, 2018, an employee shall accrue earned sick time on all hours worked at a rate of no less than one hour of earned sick time for every 52 hours worked, including overtime hours, of which a minimum of 40 hours shall be usable per annual period. Beginning January 1, 2019, an employee has the right to use up to 40 hours of accrued sick time per annual period. An employee may use earned sick time for the following:
- Care for the employee’s own physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition that requires home care, professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventative medical care, including diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health treatment; or
- Care for the employee’s parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild or foster child, who is suffering from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition that requires home care, professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventative medical care; or
- Care for the employee’s sick or injured parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child, including helping that individual obtain diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health treatment, or accompanying the employee’s parent, grandparent, spouse, or parent-in-law to an appointment related to his or her long-term care. Routine healthcare treatment includes travel to and from an appointment, a pharmacy, or other location related to the purpose for which the time was taken; or
- Arranging for social or legal services or obtaining medical care or counseling for the employee or for the employee’s parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child, who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or who is relocating as the result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
- Care for a parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild or foster child, because the school or business where that individual is normally located during the employee’s workday is closed for public health or safety reasons.
Effective January 1, 2018, it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy-related condition, unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer. An employee with a pregnancy-related condition, regardless of whether the employee is an ‘individual with a disability’, shall have the same rights and be subject to the same standards with respect to the provision of a reasonable accommodation.
Last updated on: October 1st, 2018