With New Year, More Vermonters Eligible for Paid Sick Leave

By Wilson Ring

MONTPELIER — More Vermont workers are starting off the new year accruing paid sick leave that they can use when they fall ill or need time off to tend to sick family members or address other emergencies.

The new law, signed by outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin last March, is expected to benefit about 60,000 Vermont workers who do not have access to paid sick leave through their work.

Starting Sunday, the new law requires employers to provide a minimum of three paid sick days in a 12-month period for full-time employees. In 2019, the law will jump to five days.

Melinda Moulton, the CEO of the development business Main Street Landing, which has worked for decades to redevelop the Burlington waterfront and has pushed for paid sick leave as one of a number of socially responsible business practices, said she would like to see the law amended to provide more sick days. But it’s a start, she said.

“If you’re a single mother and you’re working in a retail store and you have a sick child, what are your options if you don’t have family members around?” Moulton said. “What do they do? It’s cruel.”

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