Overview of Paid Sick Time Laws in the United States:

Updated on October 13, 2020

Return to Paid Sick Time Laws Home | Search Paid Sick Time Laws | Export page as PDF

Who is covered? Note: City/county paid sick time laws cannot cover state government workers, and city, county, and state paid sick time laws cannot cover federal government workers. Workers employed by an employer in Vermont for an average of no less than 18 hours per week during a year are covered. The following individuals are exempted: workers under 18 years of age; workers employed for 20 or fewer weeks in a year in a job scheduled to last 20 or fewer weeks; certain State workers excluded from the State classified service; certain employees who work on a per diem or intermittent basis at a health care or long-term care facility; certain per diem or intermittent workers who only work when indicating availability, have no obligation to accept the work, and have no expectation of continued employment; certain substitute educators for a school district or supervisory district/union if under no obligation to work a regular schedule or period of long-term (30 or more consecutive school days) substitute coverage; and certain sole proprietors/partner owners of an unincorporated business.
Can sick time be used to care for loved ones? Yes: children; parents; parents-in-law; grandparents; spouses; grandchildren; and siblings.
How is “child” defined? Undefined. The law specifically covers care of a child or foster child.
Can sick time be used for specific “safe time” purposes (related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking)? Yes, when the worker or the worker’s family member is the victim.
Can sick time be used under the law to bond with a new child and/or deal with a family member’s death? Note: It is possible that other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or a state equivalent, could provide eligible workers with unpaid leave for these purposes. No.
Can sick time be used when a worker’s place of work or child’s school/place of care is closed by public health officials for a public health emergency? Yes, for public health or safety reasons.
Rate at which workers earn paid sick time? 1 hour for every 52 hours worked.
Do workers have different sick time-related rights based on the size of their employer? If so, based on what employer-size threshold(s)? No.
Amount of paid sick time that can be earned under the law per year? (Note: All of these paid sick time laws make it clear that these laws establish a minimum requirement, and employers can provide greater or more generous paid sick time benefits to their workers.) From 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018: Up to 24 hours a year. After 12/31/2018: Up to 40 hours a year. Note: new businesses will not be subject to the paid sick time law for a period of one year after hiring their first worker.
When do workers begin to earn paid sick time? At the commencement of employment or when their employer becomes covered by the law, whichever is later, but workers can be required to wait up to 1 year before using their accrued paid sick time.
Does unused sick time carry forward to the subsequent year? Workers are entitled to carry forward unused paid sick time and shall continue to accrue paid sick time, but employers aren’t required to allow use of more than 24 hours (from 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018) or 40 hours (after 12/31/2018) a year. However, employers are not required to carry it forward if they choose to pay a worker for unused paid sick time at the end of the year. If an employer offers a paid time off (PTO) policy or is party to a CBA that provides at least the full amount of PTO required by the paid sick time law at the beginning of each year and it can be used for the law’s purposes at any time during the year, it shall not carry forward.
Private Right of Action to go to Court? Yes.
Are there waivers/ exemptions for workers covered by a valid Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? No specific waivers or exemptions for workers covered by a CBA.
What Agency or Official Enforces the Law? Not explicitly addressed in the paid sick time law.
For the statewide paid sick time laws: can cities in the state pass paid sick time laws that are broader than the state law? Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 481 et seq.
Statutory Citation(s) Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 481 et seq.
Additional Notes For more on Vermont’s paid sick time law, see the resources at https://labor.vermont.gov/.
Scroll to Top