Vermont Labor Laws

March 19th 2024

This article covers:

What are Vermont Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Vermont Minimum Wage $13.67
Vermont Overtime 1.5 times the rate of the standard wage
($20.51 for employees earning minimum wages)
Vermont Breaks All employees must be granted a “reasonable opportunity” to eat and use toilet facilities. If the break lasts less than 30 minutes, it is paid.

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Vermont?

Under Vermont law, it is prohibited for employers, regardless of the industry, to discriminate against employees, especially when hiring, on the basis of:

  • Race and color
  • Creed
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Marital and familial status
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Credit report and history
  • Medical records and history involving HIV/AIDS
  • Wage garnishments for consumer debts

It is worth mentioning that Vermont is not one of the states that follow the “right-to-work” law – which is common in the US, which means that the state does not have laws in place to protect employees from being obligated to join a labor union or pay union fees in order to be employed.

In Vermont, just like in many other US states, the employment-at-will doctrine is practiced. This means that an employer has the right to terminate any employee’s contract of employment for any reason. However, it is important to note that termination should not be based on discrimination. If there is a valid reason to terminate an employee that does not violate their rights, the employer is allowed to do so. In the case of massive layoffs where at least 50 employees are being fired within a 90-day period, the employer must provide a notice of at least a month and a half to the Commissioner of Labor in order for the layoffs to be considered legal.

When it comes to payment of the final paycheck in Vermont, it follows a similar practice to other states in the US. All employers in Vermont are required to pay any due wages to the terminated employee within 72 hours of the designated payday. The wages can be either directly deposited into the employee’s bank account or delivered to them directly, based on the agreement stated in the contract.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Vermont?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Vermont that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • COBRA Laws – Businesses with at least 20 employees fall under the federal law of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This law ensures that employees have the right to maintain their group health benefits for a period of 18 to 36 months in the event of voluntary or involuntary job loss. However, smaller businesses are not covered by federal COBRA regulations. To address this, many states have implemented their own plans to help alleviate the difficulties faced by employees. In Vermont, for example, the state COBRA plan extends coverage to all beneficiaries for 18 months following the termination or death of an employee. In the latter case, the coverage is transferred to the family members of the deceased employee. In addition to job loss, there are other circumstances that can qualify individuals for state COBRA plans. These include a reduction in the number of hours worked, loss of “dependent child” status, employee enrollment in Medicare, and divorce.
  • OSHA Laws – The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) recognizes various workplace hazards that can be categorized as biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic, safety, and work organization. As part of its responsibilities, OSHA conducts regular inspections to ensure the safety of facilities and working premises, as well as to ensure that both employees and employers adhere to health standards. The state OSHA, which is federally approved, aims to provide safe and healthy working conditions, consistently inspect for any flaws or irregularities, and strive to improve work conditions whenever feasible. In order to comply with OSHA regulations, employers must provide their employees with proper training, education, and ongoing assistance to ensure workplace safety.
  • Background Check Law – In 2016, the Vermont legislature introduced the “ban-the-box” law. This law forbids employers from asking job candidates about their criminal history during interviews, unless the specific role they are applying for falls under certain exceptions that necessitate a background check. The professions that require employees to undergo a background check include nursing home and home care personnel, residential buildings’ managers, school personnel, adult rehabilitation specialists, and long-term health personnel.
  • Social Media Law – As per the law in Vermont, it is prohibited for employers to force employees to give their social media usernames and passwords, reveal personal information from social media, modify their privacy settings, or add personnel or contacts to their private social media contact lists. Any violations of this law will lead to penalties.
  • Recordkeeping law – As per federal law, employers must maintain specific employee records throughout their employment and even after their employment ends. These records should encompass:
    • Name
    • Occupation
    • The rate of pay
    • The amount paid on each paid period
    • The hours worked each day and week
    • Selection, hiring, and employment records – 1 year after creating the contracts (2 years for federal agencies and contractors)
    • Payroll records and timesheets – 3 years (no obligation, but it is advised to keep them for legal purposes)
    • I-9 forms – 3 years after the initial hiring date
    • Employment benefits – 6 years after the termination of employment
    • Tax records – 4 years from the date the tax is paid
    • Safety data – 5 years following the year records pertain to
    • FMLA records – 3 years after the termination of employment
    • Polygraph test records – 3 years after doing doing the test
    • Drug test records – 1 year after doing the test

Vermont Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Vermont?

Wage laws exist to safeguard workers and provide them with the utmost support to enhance their quality of life. In situations where state and federal regulations have conflicting minimum wage rates, the higher rate takes precedence.

Wage laws exist to safeguard workers and provide them with the utmost support to enhance their quality of life. In the state of Vermont, the Department of Labor periodically adjusts minimum wages, taking into account changes in prices and the impact on the overall quality of life. As a result of inflation, employees earning the minimum wage in Vermont experienced an increase in their hourly pay. Since January 1, 2024, their wages have risen from $13.18 to $13.67 per hour.

Vermont’s minimum wage differs from the federal minimum wage which is at $7.25. It’s worth noting that in such situations where state and federal regulations have conflicting minimum wage rates, the higher rate takes precedence.

In the United States, a worker who earns a minimum of $30 per month in tips is considered a tipped employee. In most states, employers are only required to pay a portion of the minimum hourly wage, which is $2.13, if the employee can earn the remaining amount through tips. However, in Vermont, there is a different rule. The employer must pay tipped employees 50% of the state hourly wage, which is $6.84, as long as this amount combined with tips equals or exceeds the state minimum wage. If the total falls short, the employer is responsible for making up the difference so that the employee receives the minimum wage of $13.67 per hour.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there are certain groups of individuals who can be paid subminimum wages. These include student-learners, full-time students working in retail, agriculture, and service establishments, and people with impaired productive capacity, such as those who are physically or mentally disabled. The subminimum wage is set at $4.25, which is 60% of the federal minimum wage.

In the state of Vermont, individuals with disabilities used to work in “sheltered workshops” where they performed simple tasks for very low pay. However, due to widespread discrimination and limited opportunities for people with disabilities, the subminimum wage was abolished by the Vermont Civil Rights Commission in 2002. 

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Vermont?

The state of Vermont has some exceptions to its minimum wage requirements that closely align with federal regulations. However, it also has a few unique professions that are exempt from these regulations. Here is a comprehensive list of the occupations that fall under these exemptions:

  • Executive, Administrative, Professional employees who are paid at least $684 weekly
  • Highly compensated employees who earn more than $500,000 in gross annual incomes
  • Employees working in agriculture
  • Domestic service or private home employees
  • Government-employed workers
  • Non-profit organization employees
  • Newspaper delivering or marketing employees
  • Taxi-cab drivers
  • Outside salespersons
  • Part-time student employees

What is the Payment Due Date in Vermont?

In Vermont, every employer, regardless of being private or public, must comply with a specific payment plan. They are required to pay their employees all wages owed, at least once a week. However, there is some flexibility if all employees agree to a bi-weekly payment schedule, which employers can implement by notifying everyone. The payday must be within 6 days of the last day of the pay period. Moreover, employers are also obligated to provide a detailed statement on each payday that includes information about total hours worked, hourly rate, gross pay, and itemized deductions.

What are Vermont Overtime Laws?

In the US, all employees are subject to federal overtime requirements. These requirements include being classified as non-exempt, working a minimum of 40 hours per week, and being lawfully employed by their employer. If these conditions are met, employees are entitled to receive 1.5x overtime pay for any hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour work week. For individuals earning the state minimum wage of $13.67, their hourly overtime pay would amount to $20.51 per hour.

What are the Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Vermont?

In order for an employer to be subject to overtime laws, they must have a minimum of two workers, unless those employees are specifically exempted according to the Vermont Statute. Examples of employees who may be exempt from overtime rules include:

  • Retail or service establishments
  • Amusement or recreational establishments
  • Hotel, motel, or restaurant establishments
  • Hospitals and public health centers
  • Nursing, maternity, and therapeutic homes
  • Transporting persons or property to whom the FLSA overtime requirements do not apply
  • Political subdivisions of the state

Learn more in detail about Vermont Salaried Employees Laws and Vermont Overtime Laws.

What are Vermont Time Off/Break Laws?

In Vermont, the state legislature does not have specific laws about break regulations, so the federal rules apply in this case. However, the state law suggests that employers should give their employees a fair chance to have meals, rest, and use restroom facilities. Federally, as per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are not obligated to offer breaks. Nonetheless, if they decide to give breaks according to their own policies, any breaks that are less than 30 minutes will be considered as paid breaks.

What are Vermont Breastfeeding Laws?

Before 2008, employers in Vermont had the freedom to establish their own regulations regarding breastfeeding and related breaks for nursing mothers while at work. However, a law was enacted on July 1, 2008, to provide protection for these new mothers in the workplace. Since then, employers are required to accommodate nursing mothers by providing a suitable private space (not a bathroom stall) for expressing milk, as well as a reasonable amount of compensated or uncompensated time to do so and care for their newborns. In situations where allowing these breaks would cause significant difficulties for the business, employers can request an exemption. However, it is important to note that if an employee exercises their rights under the breastfeeding law, the employer is prohibited from retaliating or engaging in discriminatory behavior.

What are Vermont Leave Laws?

Vermont provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is Vermont Required Leave?

The following are the required leave types that Vermont employers must provide to their employees:

  • Sick Leave – To be eligible for sick leave in Vermont, an employee must both reside and be employed in the state. Sick leave accrues at a rate of 1 hour for every 52 hours worked, with a maximum cap of 40 hours per year. However, employers are not required to track accruals in increments smaller than an hour. There are several exceptions to the eligibility for sick leave, including US government employees, part-time employees (those working less than 18 hours per week on average), seasonal employees, per diem healthcare workers, substitute teachers, minors, sole proprietors or partner owners of unincorporated businesses, executive officers, managers, or members of a corporation or limited liability company who have been approved for exclusion by the Commissioner, and individuals who work intermittently.
  • Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law granting eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various reasons. In Vermont, additional provisions allow leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and medical emergencies. The Small Necessities Law mandates up to 24 hours of annual leave for family-related activities. Vermont’s FMLA also allows flexible working arrangements for family and medical reasons. These laws ensure job security while supporting employees in personal and family matters.
  • Jury Duty Leave – When an employee is called to serve as a juror, their employer must give them time off for the entireduration of the court proceedings. It is against the law for the employer to fire or punish the employee for jury duty because it is mandatory by the federal government. However, in Vermont, employers are not obligated to pay the wages the employee would have earned during this time off, as the court will cover daily expenses and provide a small payment. If an employer breaks the jury duty law, they can be fined up to $200.
  • Crime Victim and Witness Leave – It is important to protect the rights of employees who are summoned by a court of law to testify as witnesses to a crime, especially if they are victims of that crime. It is against the law for an employer to fire or punish an employee for attending court proceedings. This protection applies to any type of court summons, including both civil and criminal cases, as well as hearings conducted by boards, commissions, or other tribunals in the state court system. During the time that the employee is serving as a witness, they are still considered to be in the service of their employer. This means that taking leave to fulfill their legal obligations will not impact their fringe benefits, vacation accrual, employment rights, privileges, or other job-related benefits.
  • Town Meeting Leave – If an employee informs their employer about an upcoming annual town meeting with at least 7 days’ notice, they have the option to take a leave of absence to attend it. Whether the leave will be paid or unpaid is at the discretion of the employer.
  • Military Service Leave – If an employee serves in the Reserve Components of the US Armed Forces or any organized unit of the Vermont National Guard, they are entitled to a leave of absence after informing their employer of their deployment. This leave of absence also covers training, military drills, and special military activities. During this leave, employees are entitled to the same benefits and seniority as if they were still working. However, whether the leave is paid or not is up to the employer. Typically, the first two weeks of military service leave are paid.

What is Vermont Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Bereavement Leave – In the state of Vermont, bereavement leave is a type of leave that is not mandated by law but provides employees with time off from work when they experience the loss of a loved one. If employers choose to have a bereavement leave policy, they are required to post the details of the policy in a noticeable location along with other workplace policies. It is within the employer’s discretion to determine whether the leave will be paid or unpaid. However, it is important to note that employers cannot be legally penalized for not offering bereavement leave since it is not mandatory.
  • Vacation Leave – The federal and Vermont’s state leave plans do not have any provisions for vacation leave. This means that it is the employer’s decision whether to provide vacation leave or not. If they choose to offer vacation leave, it is recommended that they create an accrual plan that determines the number of days and hours an employee needs to be eligible for this benefit.
  • Holiday Leave – In Vermont, employers are not required to give their employees a holiday leave. However, if they choose to do so, they may include the following official US holidays in their company’s policy:
State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Vermont Child Labor Laws?

Child labor laws, whether at the federal or state level, are implemented with the aim of safeguarding minors from any kind of exploitation in the workplace. This protection encompasses several areas, such as ensuring that they do not work excessive hours, operate unsafe machinery, or work in hazardous conditions. Additionally, these laws also include measures to shield minors from physical, moral, and emotional dangers. As a general rule, employers are obligated to furnish employment certificates for all minor employees. However, in the state of Vermont, there are exceptions to this requirement. It is not mandatory to provide such certificates if the minor is 16 years or older and is not employed during school hours. Nonetheless, employers still need to maintain a record of all employed minors and possess evidence of their age. This particular provision pertains to all minors below 19 years of age.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Vermont?

Here are the rules regarding the woking hours for minors in Vermont:

Age Work Time Restrictions
16 and Older No work time restrictions that differ from adult employees, except cannot work in a manufacturing establishment for more than 9 hours a day/50 hours per week.
15 and Younger – Cannot work during school hours.
– Cannot work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. except after 9:00 p.m. between June 1st and Labor Day.
– During school time, they can work for a maximum of 3 hours per day/18 hours per week.
– During non-school time, they can work for a maximum of 8 hours per day/40 hours per week.
– They should not work more than 6 days per week.

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Vermont?

Please find below a list of occupations and work activities that are strictly prohibited for individuals under the age of 19:

  • Manufacturing or storing explosives
  • Driving or working outside on motor vehicles
  • Forest fire fighting & prevention
  • Using power-driven woodworking machines
  • Exposure to radioactive substances
  • Using power-driven hoisting apparatus
  • Using power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines
  • Mining
  • Using meat-processing machines, slaughtering, meat and poultry packing and processing
  • Using bakery machines
  • Using balers, compactors, and paper-products machines
  • Manufacturing bricks and tiles
  • Using circular, band, chain, or reciprocating saws, guillotine shears, wood chippers, and cutting discs
  • Working in demolition
  • Roofing
  • Trenching or excavating

What are the Sanctions for Employing Minors in Vermont?

In Vermont, there are currently no specific state laws in place that outline the penalties for breaking any of the child labor laws. However, it is important to note that under federal law, any violation of these laws can result in civil penalties of up to $10,000.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.