Vermont labor laws were created to protect employees. The laws set a fair wage, benefits you are entitled to, and protections against discrimination or exploitation.

What Is Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Vermont?

There is no law in Vermont that sets an amount of time you have to work to be a full-time employee. If you are not sure whether you are a part-time employee or a full-time employee, the best thing you can do is ask your employer.

What Is the Minimum Wage in Vermont?

Minimum wage is $10 per hour in Vermont. In 2018, the minimum wage will go up to $10.50. The minimum wage for tipped employees is currently $5 per hour and will go up to $5.25 per hour in 2018.

Overtime

Vermont follows the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), where employees that work over 40 hours in a week will get one and a half times the amount of their regular pay for each hour over overtime. In Vermont, however, this does not apply to retail or service employees, hotel workers, nursing homes or hospitals. Vermont does not have restrictions on mandatory overtime, meaning employers can require an employee to work a lot of overtime.

Health Benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that any company that has at least 50 full-time employees has to provide health insurance to 95% of the full-time employees. The ACA considers anyone who works at least 30 hours per week to be full-time for insurance purposes. Companies with less than 50 full-time employees get to decide for themselves if they want to offer insurance.

With President Trump having taken office, the health care laws in the United States are at risk of changing. Employers need to check with their employer and a lawyer to figure out what rights they have for insurance.

Discrimination

Employees are protected against discrimination from their employers by both federal and state laws. Federal law states that an employer cannot discriminate based on religion, color, national origin, race, sex, genetic information, disability, citizenship status, or age. In Vermont, the government also protects you from discrimination that is based on ancestry, place of birth, AIDS/HIV status, or your sexual orientation or gender expression. Vermont also protects employees by making it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who makes a complaint about discrimination.

You cannot sue your employer in court unless you first file a complaint with either a federal or state agency. Thus, you should speak to a lawyer immediately because you do not want to lose your chance to make a complaint by missing an important deadline. For the federal level, the agency you should complain to is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). On a state level, the agency you should contact is the Vermont Human Rights Commission.

Now, if the agency you file with does not help solve the problem then you have the right to sue in court. If you sue in federal court, there are limits on potential damages. Vermont does not have any limits on damages if you sue in state court.

Time Off

Vermont is one of the very few states that requires employers to give their employees paid sick leave. Starting in 2017, employees can earn and use up to 3 days of paid sick leave. Then, in 2019, employees will have the right to 5 days of earned sick leave.

There is also a federal law that offers unpaid leave to employees called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, an employee has the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The leave is to be used for pregnancy, childbirth, caring for a sick family member or your own illness. This law only applies to companies that have 50 or more employees and do business in more than one state. So to cover this gap, Vermont also requires 12 weeks of unpaid leave for companies in the state that have at least 10 employees. During your time off, your employer cannot cancel your health benefits and must keep your job for you.

Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?

Employees’ rights should always be respected and enforced. If you think you are not getting the basic employment rights offered by the laws in Vermont, then consult with a Vermont employment lawyer about how to enforce your rights.