Vermont bill guarantees paid sick leave

A bill recently passed by Vermont’s state legislature will guarantee paid sick leave for Vermont workers.


The law will put in place a required amount of sick time, and forbid employers from preventing or punishing employees from using it, according to the official bill passed by the House and Senate.


Earned sick time may be used if an employee is sick, has a sick family member or loved one or is arranging care for him or herself or a family member or loved one, according to the bill.  


Sodexo employees have paid sick leave but get demerits for using it, which leads to them being fired if enough demerits are used, according to an April 2015 Cynic article.


This law would make it so that any sick time used cannot result in an employee being fired.


“Our sick leave policy has not changed. We did make a revision to our attendance policy last July to provide more flexibility for our employees in taking their sick time,” according to a Feb. 25 email from Sodexo general manager Melissa Zelazny.


Some Sodexo employees say they have never had problems using sick time before.

Employee Sean Fogarty said reluctance to take time off comes not from the administration but from “a culture here that you don’t want to let down other employees.”


Fogarty also said the bill sounds like a good idea and would definitely like to see it pass.  


This bill has been in the works for eight to 10 years, State Sen. Philip Baruth, an English professor said.


As of 2012, 65,000 Vermont workers had no paid sick leave at all, Baruth said.