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Vermont Employee Rights

    General Employment

    • "At-will" is a term used to identify an employment doctrine held over from 19th century anti-labor laws. Vermont is an "at will" state, which means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason (or no reason) except where specifically prohibited by federal laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Anti-Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRAC), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Vermont State law also prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, place of birth and age over 18 years.


    • Vermont employers are not required to give any employee paid or unpaid sick leave (except as provided for by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act) or paid or unpaid vacation days (including any national or recognized holiday). However, if the employer and employee are parties in a written employment agreement, the employer is obligated to provide the benefits included in the agreement. The written agreement does not have to be an employment contract; it can be in the form of an employee handbook, letter or memorandum. The employer also is bound by any agreements included in union contracts.


    • On Jan. 1, 2011, the Vermont minimum wage was raised to $8.15 per hour. However, if the federal government sets a federal standard that is higher than Vermont's minimum wage, Vermont will conform to federal regulation. Serviced or tipped employees have a different standard ($3.95 per hour with a maximum tip credit allowance of $4.20 dollars per hour). Employers are required to pay an employee a minimum of 1 1/2 times her regular pay rate for all hours worked exceeding 40 hours per week. Vermont law does not provide for overtime pay for hours worked exceeding eight hours per day. Moreover, many types of employers are exempt from overtime pay requirements, including retail or service businesses, hotels, restaurants, hospitals or public health centers, certain types of amusement or recreational parks and certain transportation employees.

    Final Paycheck

    • The law regarding when an employees is entitled to receive a final paycheck upon leaving the company is different for voluntary and involuntary terminations. For voluntary terminations, the employee must be paid on the last regular payday, or if there is no regular payday, on the following Friday. For involuntary terminations, the employee must be paid within 72 hours of discharge.

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