Vermont’s enactment is part of an ongoing national trend. With passage of this law, three of the six New England states will require state-wide paid sick leave. In addition to Vermont, Massachusetts already requires paid sick leave for most employees (small businesses are only required to provide unpaid leave), and Connecticut requires paid sick leave for employees in certain occupations. Paid sick leave is also required by law in California, Oregon, and many municipalities across the United States.
Vermont’s new sick leave law adds to the growing patchwork of state and local laws mandating employer-provided sick leave. Though all of these laws share a common purpose and many similar aspects (e.g., expanding sick leave usage for the illness of family members), they differ substantially in key areas, including the required amount of paid sick leave, the rate of accrual, covered employee populations, and the ability to rely on existing PTO benefits. Employers with Vermont operations—or operations in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, or the many municipalities that have enacted such laws (notably including New York City, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.)—should review their existing sick leave and PTO policies to determine if any changes are needed to ensure compliance.