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What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions?
Notice or advertisement cannot indicate any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on any protected category.
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries?
(a) Criminal records and arrests
Vermont has adopted the ban-the-box restriction for initial applications. An exception applies for positions where the law imposes limitations on hiring employees with criminal backgrounds, but the application questions must be limited to the disqualifying convictions. Employers may ask about convictions during the interview or they may condition employment on a criminal background check.
(b) Medical history
Employers may not require an employee to pay for a medical exam.
Employers cannot require genetic testing, or use genetic testing results or genetic information from a person or a member of a person’s family (18 V.S.A. Section 9333).
(c) Drug screening
Vermont imposes significant limitations on the use of drug testing. For job applicants, employers may test only after giving the applicant an offer of employment on the condition of a test result. The employer must then provide the applicant with a copy of its policy, a list of drugs to be tested, and a statement to say that therapeutic levels of prescription drugs are not reported. The test must comply with the administrative provisions of the law (21 V.S.A. Sections 511-519). The law imposes stringent restrictions for the testing of existing employees, including a prohibition on random testing. An employer may test only if it has probable cause to believe that an employee is under the influence and the employer meets numerous other requirements. If a test is positive, an employer cannot immediately terminate the employee, but must allow the employee to seek treatment.
(d) Credit checks
Subject to limited exceptions, employers may not enquire about an applicant’s credit report or credit history (21 V.S.A. Section 495(i)).
(e) Immigration status
Employers may not recruit, solicit or refer for employment, or employ, an individual who is not authorized to work in the United States.
(f) Social media
Effective January 1 2018, Vermont limits access to employee social media accounts (21 V.S.A. Section 495(l)). The law contains exceptions for conducting appropriate investigations and accessing an employer-issued device. It also includes retaliation protection.
Wage and hour
What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state?
Vermont law includes a subchapter on wages and medium of payment (21 V.S.A. Section 341 and following) and a subchapter on minimum wages (21 V.S.A. Section 381 and following).
What is the minimum hourly wage?
Effective January 1 2018 the minimum wage is $10.50. From January 1 2019 the minimum wage will be increased by a maximum of 5% annually, based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.
What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?
Wages must be paid weekly, or bi-weekly or semi-monthly with prior written notice. Wages must be paid no more than six days after the final day of the pay period. Direct deposit or payroll cards may be used with prior written authorization.
Only the following deductions to wages are permitted:
- deductions for goods and services provided by the employer (with some restrictions);
- deductions authorized by law (eg, taxes and benefit contributions); and
- deductions for employer provided meals and lodging (with limitations).
Some deductions are expressly prohibited (eg, deductions for cash register shortages) and others may be made only after authorization. The Vermont Department of Labor provides a deductions chart. Employees who are terminated involuntarily must be paid within 72 hours of discharge. However, voluntary termination requires payment “on the last regular pay day, or if there is no regular pay day, on the following Friday” (21 V.S.A. Section 342(b)).
Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?
Vermont follows the general rule that “[a]n employer shall provide an employee with reasonable opportunities during work periods to eat and to use toilet facilities in order to protect the health and hygiene of the employee” (21 V.S.A. Section 304).
It also requires employers to provide reasonable time (paid or unpaid) and a private space (that is not a bathroom) for an employee to express breast milk (21 V.S.A. Section 305).
Finally, Vermont requires employers to consider requests for flexible work arrangements and sets forth certain compliance obligations (21 V.S.A. Section 309).
What are the maximum hour rules?
There are detailed restrictions on hours worked by children under 16 years of age (21 V.S.A. Section 434 and 437).
How should overtime be calculated?
Overtime is calculated at one-and-a-half times the regular wage rate.
What exemptions are there from overtime?
Vermont includes limited exemptions for employees of:
- any retail or service establishment;
- an amusement or recreational establishment;
- hotels, motels, or restaurants;
- hospitals, public health centers, nursing homes, maternity homes, therapeutic community residences, and residential care homes;
- transportation companies (where the work is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act);
- a political subdivision of Vermont; and
- any state covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?
Employers must keep an accurate record of hours worked and wages paid. Employers must also provide employees with a statement which fully itemizes each wage payment, including:
- the total hours worked;
- the hourly rate;
- gross pay; and
- each deduction.
Records should be kept for at least three years.