Vermont Governor Signs Sick Leave Bill

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By Adrianne Appel

March 9 — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed a bill March 9 that requires paid sick leave be offered to an estimated 60,000 workers in the state.

Vermont will be the fifth state to guarantee paid time off to workers who are sick, have a doctor's appointment or need to care for an ill family member.

“When Vermonters do not have access to paid sick leave, they often go to work anyway, putting the health of other workers, the workplace, and all of us at risk,” Shumlin said in a March 9 statement.

“This law will provide dignity for employees, a more productive workforce for employers, and a safer workplace for all of us,” the governor said.

The bill (H. 187) passed the Senate Feb. 10 and the House Feb. 17, after much debate.

The requirements will be phased in, starting Jan. 1, 2017, when businesses must give workers at least three paid sick days a year. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, businesses must offer employees a minimum of five paid sick days each year.

Businesses with five or fewer employees will have until Jan. 1, 2018, to begin offering the benefit.

Employers are not required to offer the benefit to temporary workers and certain part-time employees, including short-term substitute teachers and per-diem health workers.

California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon also have adopted paid sick leave laws.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adrianne Appel in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at