VT Proposed Sick Time Rules Finalized, Not Yet Adopted

With a January 1, 2017 effective date looming for the Vermont Earned Sick Time law, the Vermont Department of Labor has issued it Final Proposed Earned Sick Time Rules. The Department had issued proposed rules in September 2016. The Department held public hearings and solicited comments on those proposed rules. The comments submitted, the Department’s response summary to those comments and the Final Proposed Earned Sick Time Rules are here.  The Final Proposed Rule has been forwarded to the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules for its review. The Rule must be adopted to be effective.vermont-1111041_640

The Department made a half dozen changes in response to the comments submitted on the initial proposal. The Department

  • Changed the period for determining whether an employee has worked an average of 18 hours weekly (and is thus eligible to accrue earned time off) from quarterly to annually.
  • Changed the period for determining whether an employee has worked an average of 30 hours weekly for purposes of determining whether an employer is a “small employer” from the last quarter of 2016 to 2016. CHECK
  • Deleted a statement that an employee shall accrue earned sick time on hours paid. This created an ambiguity since employees accrue earned sick time on all hours worked.
  • Added a subsection to clarify that if an employer frontloads the full amount of earned sick time, unused hours at the end of the annual period shall not carryover to the next annual period.
  • Added a few words to clarify that the prohibition on an employer’s requiring an employee to find a replacement for the employee’s absences applies only for absences for purposes authorized by the earned sick time law.
  • Softened a notification requirement suggested in the following footnote by replacing the work “must” with “is well advised.”

For example, a sporting goods store provides its employees with 40 hours of paid vacation time that can also be used as earned sick time, consistent with the Act. Does the store need to provide any separate sick time? No. The sporting goods store does not need to provide additional sick time, but the store must would be well advised to notify the employees that if they use all of their hours for vacation, there will be no additional paid sick time available. (New words in italics.)

I will soon post a PSL-4Step analysis of the Vermont Earned Sick Time Law.