Guaranteed paid sick days benefit everybody. They’re good for workers and their families, good for employers, and critical to public health and safety. Unfortunately, thousands of Vermonters do not have access to paid sick time because no federal or state law currently guarantees any paid time off for Vermont workers. At present, half of Vermont’s private sector employers do not offer paid sick time.[i]
Vermont’s Paid Sick Days Coalition is working to pass a bill that would require employers to permit absence from work for personal or family health reasons without loss of pay. If the bill becomes law:
- Employees in Vermont would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours (7 days) each year.
- Employees could use their paid sick time to:
- Recover from or receive treatment for an illness or injury,
- Care for a family member when they are ill,
- Obtain diagnostic, routine, preventive, or therapeutic health care,
- Take necessary steps for their safety as a result of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or stalking.
- All employers already offering equal or more generous paid sick time, Combined Time Off, Paid Time Off, or any type of paid leave that can be used for the sick leave purposes defined in the law (as listed above) would be unaffected. Likewise, employers who aren’t currently meeting the minimum standard may meet the requirement with the same flexibility.
- Employers’ own policies determine the time increments by which workers may use their sick time. For example, if an employer has a policy requiring workers to take at least half a day of time when they are absent with pay, that policy stands for the purposes of this legislation.
- The amount of required paid sick time an employee can take each year is limited to 56 hours (7 days). Unused paid sick time can be carried over to the next year, so there is no incentive to take unused days at the end of a year, but the total required for the next year remains limited to 56 hours. Employees would not be able to “cash out” any unused hours if they left their job.
[i] Vermont Dept. of Labor, Fringe Benefits Survey, 2011 Preliminary Data.