Filing a Wage and Hour Claim – Vermont
Does Vermont have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?
Like federal law, Vermont law requires that employees be paid at one and a half times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked over forty in any given workweek. Vermont’s overtime provision does not apply to anyone to whom the state’s minimum wage provision does not apply. In addition, the state’s overtime provision does not apply to any of the following employees to whom the state’s minimum wage does apply:
- Employees of any retail or service establishment (establishments 75% of whose volume of sales of goods or services are not for resale)
- Employees of amusement or recreational establishments that do not operate for more than 7 months or that make the vast majority of their profits in a six-month period
- Hotel, motel, or restaurant employees
- Under certain circumstances, employees of hospitals, public health centers, nursing homes, maternity homes, therapeutic community residences and residential care homes
- Certain employees involved in the transportation of persons or property
- Employees of a political subdivision of the state
- State employees covered by federal wage-and-hour law
Does Vermont have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?
Vermont’s minimum wage is $8.73 per hour. On the first day of each year, the minimum wage will be increased by 5% or the Consumer Price Index, CPI-U, U.S. city average, whichever is smaller.The state minimum wage law does not cover the following employees:
- Agricultural employees
- Employees in domestic service in or about a private home
- U.S. government employees
- Employees working for a public supported nonprofit organization, except laundry employees, nurses’ aides or practical nurses
- Employees employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity
- Employees making home deliveries of newspapers or advertising
- Taxi-cab drivers
- Outside salespersons
- Students working during all or any part of the school year or regular vacation periods.
Employers may pay tipped employees (making at least $30 per month in tips) $3.72 per hour, as long as this combined with the employees tips totals the minimum wage of $7.68 per hour.
An employer may deduct from the minimum wage or overtime pay the amounts for board, lodging, apparel, rent, or utilities paid or furnished or similar items or services that are usually provided in the particular employer-employee relationship.
Does Vermont have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?
Vermont law goes beyond federal law in that it requires employers to provide employees “reasonable opportunities” to eat and use the restroom. The law is not more specific than that, however.
How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Vermont?
If your employer owes you wages, you can file a wage claim with the Vermont Department of Labor. The form can be found at https://uipublic.labor.vermont.gov/wagehour/wage_complaint_form_online.html. The Commissioner may investigate, attempt to settle, and, if there is enough evidence, order your employer to pay your wages. The Commissioner may also require your employer to pay twice what you are owed if your employer willfully failed to pay your wages; you would receive half of this extra amount, and the other half would go to the state. The Commissioner may also enforce the order to pay in court.
What are my time deadlines?
Do not delay in contacting the Department of Labor to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which charges of wage-and-hour violations may be filed. In order for the Department to act on your behalf, you must file your wage claim within two years from the date on which your wages were due. However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the Department.
How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Vermont?
If your employer has paid you less than the minimum wage, you can bring a lawsuit in court to recover twice the minimum wage, less any wages you were actually paid. The court may also require your employer to pay your litigation costs and attorneys’ fees. There appears to be a six-year statute of limitations on such actions, but this is not clear and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible to consider filing suit. If your employer owes you wages (unrelated to the minimum wage), you can also bring a lawsuit in court. In such a case, the court may award you twice the wages you are owed, as well as require your employer to pay your litigation costs and attorneys’ fees. The statute of limitations for such a claim is two years.
State Labor Agency
Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mtn. Drive
PO Box 488
Montpelier, VT 05601-0488
This material was originally prepared by attorney Joseph Jaramillo and former law clerks Keia Cole and Adam Weiss of the law firm Goldstein, Demchak Baller Borgen and Dardarian, and was updated by Professor Douglas D. Scherer, of Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Professor Scherer also serves as the Vice President of Workplace Fairness.
© 2015 Workplace Fairness