Vermont Employment Law: What's Important And Why


Vermont employment law requires that most employers pay employees overtime for all hours over forty in one work week. The required overtime rate is one- and one-half times the employees’ regular hourly rate. However, in Vermont there are some types of businesses that are exempt from this requirement. The following is a list of some of those types (retail or service) of businesses; restaurants, hotels, certain types of amusement parks and recreational establishments. Be careful though because just because certain types of businesses may be exempt from paying overtime according to Vermont employment law, they may not be according to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. So, make sure you check before taking action and include your position in your employee handbook. Of course, any of the above is tossed out if the employee is protected by a contract or a collective bargaining agreement!













Vermont Employment Law

What Else is Important in Vermont Employment Law?

The Vermont employment law does allow for an employer to pay wages via direct deposit provided the employee has given written authorization. The financial institution can be inside or outside the state of Vermont. Like any policy regarding an employee pay it is important that you receive very accurate information of the employees banking information. In addition, with the issues today regarding identity theft it is critical that you have a payroll software and computer system that protects the employee’s information. One slip up and it could be devastating!

This simply means that an employer can hire, fire, promote, or take any other employment action with or without reasons.

Vermont employment law does not require an employer to provide for paid or unpaid time off for any holidays. However, the employer can provide this benefit if they so choose. In addition, if the employee is under a contract or a collective bargaining agreement then that must be followed. In addition, employers are not required to provide any other paid or unpaid time off for vacation, sick, or severance. There are exceptions to this also, such as, the Family Medical Leave Act which does provide for protections to the employee for qualified situations. Hopefully you include this in your employee handbook so there are no questions, especially if the employee files a claim with the state. Your handbook will make it clear what your position is.

Vermont employment law falls considers employees to be “at will”. This simply means that an employer can hire, fire, promote, or take any other employment action with or without reasons. However, if the employer is discriminating against any employee this is considered illegal and is actionable. Of course, employees can also leave the company without notice as well. There are some advantages to having an “at will” employee; however, I am not inclined to follow this path. I would rather take the progressive discipline approach which means that I will only take negative actions against employees for good cause. There are risks for legal action no matter which position you take. My belief is that if I have gone through the trouble and expense of the recruitment process, training that employee, and investing my time, then I want that employee to be successful. None of this is that important if you have a good probationary period policy within your employee handbook. The amount of time you elect to have an employee under a probationary period is your choice. This allows you to decide during that time if you want to keep the employee or let them go! Please consult with a labor law attorney before making a decision!

This of course will insure that the health and safety of the employee is protected.

Vermont employment law does require an employer to provide a reasonable opportunity for an employee to eat and use the restroom. This of course will insure that the health and safety of the employee is protected. Some of this will be determined by the amount of time the employee is scheduled to work. However, based on this labor law I would at a minimum provide a reasonable opportunity for an employee to use the restroom. If it becomes excessive the employee may be ill and may need to be excused from work. This is only my opinion and not legal advice. An employer must pay for time taken to use the restroom or eat lunch unless the time allowed is thirty minutes or longer and was not in any way interrupted. This is not cumulative time, i.e., ten minutes here and five minutes there until thirty minutes is taken. The time must be all at the same time. Please include this in your employee handbook so there are no questions about your policy. This could help if legally challenged.

Vermont employment law only allows for an employer to deduct from an employee’s paycheck those items permitted or required by law. As an example, that would include taxes and social security. In addition, with the written authorization of the employee for such things as health insurance or other company sponsored benefits. At no time can an employer deduct from an employee’s paycheck for such things as cash register shortages, bad customer checks or credit cards, or destruction or missing property. There are a number of other items to add to this list but this should make the point clear that if you are wanting to deduct money from an employee’s paycheck, I would check the Vermont Labor Laws first. My guess is that you will not be able to do. In fact, if you do you may be violating Vermont’s criminal code.

As you do your own research on Vermont employment law to either prepare your employee handbook or to simply understand what you are required to do as a business owner it is important that you use a reputable employee handbook templates software or an employment labor law attorney!

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