Vermont employers: Get ready for paid sick leave
Posted on March 23rd, 2016
By Brittany Llorente
Media Marketing Associate
With a national push for paid sick leave gaining momentum, another state has fallen into the fold, requiring paid sick leave for employees employed in their state.
During the state’s investigation into private sector employees, the state found that less than 50 percent of the employees, employed by companies with less than 20 workers had access to paid leave. However, 78 percent of workers employed by larger companies had access to paid leave. This equated that more than 60,000 employees had no access to paid leave.
The act, passed on March 9, 2016, looks to alleviate the stress of employees needing to be absent from work due to illness without financial strain.
As it states, “all employers doing business in or in the State of Vermont shall be required to provide earned sick time to their employees.”
However, if you are an employer in the State of Vermont that provides paid time off from work, an employer may not be required to change their paid time off policy or offer additional paid leave.
This Act will take effect on January 1, 2017, except for an employer that has five or fewer employees who are employed for an in the span of a year. The employers who fall under this exception will be subject starting January 1, 2018.
So, what is earned sick time?
Earned sick time is a discretionary time earned and accrued, at a rate of no less than one hour of sick time for every 52 hours worked. An employer may require a waiting period for new hires for up to one year, however, employees would still accrue sick time but will not be able to use the earned sick time until the waiting period is over.
What are the uses for the accrued sick time?
If the employee…
- Is ill or injured
- Obtains professional diagnostic, preventative, routine, or therapeutic health care.
- Cares for a sick or injured parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child.
- Is 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.
- Is caring for a parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child, where the school or business that the individual is normally located during the employee’s time of work, is closed for public health or safety reasons.
The Act also specifies the amount of accrued sick time that an employer can limit on an employee’s sick time accrual. For the initial period, from January 1, 2017, until December 31, 2018, the limit placed on accrued sick time cannot exceed more than 24 hours in a 12-month period. After the initial period, which ends December 31, 2018, the limit placed can be no more than 40 hours in a 12-month period.
Currently, there are five states, 22 cities, and one county in the United States that have enacted regulations for paid sick time. These states include Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and now, Vermont.
If you need help tracking paid sick leave compliance, Greenshades has a solution for any business size. If your employees need a better way to request time off, our online portal can help your payroll, HR and employees, alike. Click here for more information.
For more information on Vermont’s Paid Sick Leave regulations, click here.