Vermont was the fifth state in the country to guarantee paid sick leave days to employees. As of January 1, 2018, all employers in the state must comply with the law.
All Vermont employers are covered by the paid sick leave law. Employees are eligible for paid sick leave if they work at least 18 hours per week on average. A few categories of employees are not eligible for paid sick leave, including federal government employees, per diem health care employees, minors, and certain seasonal employees.
Sick leave begins to accrue on the employee’s first day of work. However, employers may impose a one-year waiting period from the first day of employment before the employee can use any accrued sick leave. Sick leave does not need to be paid out when an employee leaves employment.
Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 52 hours worked. Paid sick leave must carry over from year to year, but employers may place annual caps on accrual and use. In 2018, employers may cap accrual at 24 hours of paid sick leave per year. In 2019 and beyond, employers may cap accrual at 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.
Alternatively, employers can choose to provide the maximum number of paid sick leave hours at the start of each year. In that case, they do not have to worry about accrual or carry-over rules. Any sick leave left at the end of the year expires.
If an employer already has a vacation or PTO policy that provides the minimum number of sick hours and follows the other rules for paid sick leave, it does not need to provide additional time off. (To learn more on this topic, see our article on paid vacation rules.)
Employees may use sick leave for the following purposes:
Employees may use sick leave in hourly increments, or in shorter increments if already allowed by the employer’s payroll system for other types of leave.
Employees might be entitled to additional unpaid time off for certain medical and caretaking reasons. See our article on FMLA leave in Vermont to learn more.
Employees must make a good faith effort to provide notice prior to taking sick leave. If the sick leave is used for a pre-scheduled reason—such as a routine doctor’s appointment—the employer can require the employee to provide notice as soon as it’s practical. Employers can also require employees to make reasonable efforts to avoid scheduling routine or preventative care during regular work hours.
Employers may ask for reasonable documentation that the employee used sick leave for a permissible purpose. However, they cannot ask for details about health conditions or domestic violence.