Under state law, the Vermont minimum wage increases each year based on the cost of living. According to a press release issued by the Vermont Department of Labor, the cost of living fell by 1.5% between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009. Because the state law does not permit a decline in the minimum wage, it will remain at the current level until 2011.
“A steady minimum wage reflects our economic times, “ according to Labor Commissioner Patricia Moulton Powden. “The cost of living has fallen and the ability of employers to increase pay is limited by the recession.”
The Vermont minimum wage for tipped employees will also remain stable at $3.91 per hour for employees who earn at least $120 per month in tips for direct, personal service. However, those employees are still entitled to the minimum wage of $8.06 when tips and (more…)
The state minimum wage law requires that employees be paid 1.5 times their usual rate for overtime, over 40 hours per week. However, the state law has very, very limited applications since it excludes numerous industries including, amusement parks, retail, service industries, hotels, restaurants and the transportation industry.
Most employees in the state are entitled to overtime after 40 hours under federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Also on January 1, 2008 the state minimum wage for tipped employees increases from $3.65 to $3.72 per hour – an increase of 7 cents.
The state of Vermont exempts a number of workers from the minimum wage law. These include full-time high school students, agricultural workers, cab drivers, outside salespeople, newspaper delivery persons, executives, people employed in domestic service, and some employees of non-profit or publicly supported organizations. Many, but not all, of these employees are entitled to compensation of at least $5.85 per hour under the federal minimum wage.
Under state law, an employee who is fired must receive his or her final paycheck within 72 hours. If a worker resigns, he or she must be paid on the next regular payday. If there is no established regular payday, they must be paid by the following Friday.
The Vermont Department of Labor enforces the state minimum wage and overtime laws. In addition, under a state law, the department also forces employers to honor the terms of any written wage agreements, such as vacation, holiday or sick pay, or severance pay. The state Wage and Hour program also answers questions on child labor issues and minimum wage complaints.
When an employee works more than 40 hours a week, federal law says that worker is entitled to 1.5 times the usual hourly rate, or “overtime”. Many states have also enacted overtime laws. In Delaware, Idaho and others that don’t have a state overtime law, most employees are covered by the federal law. If federal law doesn’t apply in these states, many workers are not entitled to overtime.
Minimum wage and overtime laws vary a great deal among the 50 U.S. states. Among the states that have enacted statues for overtime, California seems to offer the worker the greatest benefit. A worker must receive overtime for hours worked in excess of 8 per day, or in excess of 40 hours per week. The seventh consecutive day worked entitles the employee to overtime all day, and after 8 hours on the seventh day, double time–twice the hourly rate–is paid.
Connecticut also provides overtime for workers on the seventh day in a row, but only for workers in hotels and restaurants. Kentucky also pays overtime on day seven, regardless of the number of hours worked up till then.
Many of the states across the country, such as Illinois, Nebraska and Michigan merely follow the federal law’s lead and require overtime pay for more than 40 hours per week.State laws for employees who also receive tips, also vary. Federal law ranks minimum wage for tipped employees at $2.13 per hour. As with the overtime laws, many states simply mirror the federal law and pay $2.13 as well.
A few states pay slighter higher, like Wisconsin at $2.33 per hour and Michigan at $2.65 per hour. At the low end of the range is Kansas with $1.59 per hour.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are those states that don’t allow much, if any, credit for a worker’s tips. Companies in Hawaii are allowed to pay tipped workers $7.00 per hour instead of $7.25, the state minimum. Washington allows employers no tips at all and requires employers to pay tipped and non-tipped workers the state minimum wage, which on January 1, 2008 will be $8.07 per hour.
Wal-Mart Inc. recently agreed to pay $33 million as a consequence of violations of federal and Vermont overtime laws. This settlement covers infringements listed in a suit with the US Department of Labor. Private litigations or workers future grievances are not affected.
The number of employees in Vermont and other states benefited by this agreement are 87,000. The amount of money includes back earnings and interest.
The infraction detected by the US Dept. of Labor was that Wal-Mart hired a number of employees who were required to work overtime, without being paid the overtime rate of 1.5 times the usual hourly earnings. These workers where considered “salaried” employees. Like many employers, Wal-Mart seems to have mistakenly assumed that every salaried worker was exempt from overtime pay. Under this suit, Wal-Mart admits that the employees in question didn’t qualify as exempt from the overtime statutes.
As Wal-Mart discovered, not every “salaried” worker is exempt from overtime pay. If a person earns less than $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, the employer must pay time-and-one-half when the employee works more than 40 hours per week. Even some salaried managers who earn more than this may not be exempt from overtime. A manger must have specific job duties to be overtime exempt. The law is complex, but in general, a worker must have decision-making power in a division, store or department. In addition, he or she usually has the power to hire and fire 3 or more members of the team.
One of the violations detected by the US Department of Labor in the Wal-Mart practices was the inappropriate payment of several programmer trainees, salaried interns, and manager trainees, who worked more than 40 hours per week for low wages. Most of them have no employees to supervise, non-existent decision making power, or received less than $23,660 per year.
Vermont has its own very interesting and unique set of laws when it comes to overtime. They follow some of the standard guidelines for overtime labor law that we’ve seen in other states, such as the standard work week of 40 hours. And for most employees, Vermont also follows the standard overtime premium pay of one and a half times the usual pay of the given employee.
But when it comes to certain groups of employees, Vermont follows its own guidelines that you might not find in many other states. For instance, in Vermont, the law dictates that employers follow an eight hour day limit, or an 80 hour limit for a two week work period.
Who is covered by these two different regulations? In Vermont, overtime law singles out workers at hospitals, other public health institutions, nursing and retirement homes, therapeutic facilities, maternity centers, and community centers.
When it comes to exemptions from the overtime law in Vermont—or those workers who do not have to get overtime from their employers—the state law has exemptions for service industry companies, retail companies, recreational or amusement centers that are seasonably open, restaurants, hotels and motels, and employees who transport property or people and are exempt from federal pay rules.
Then again, when it comes to exemptions for salaried white collar workers, Vermont basically follows the federal guidelines. They state, loosely put, that people in “bona fide” positions considered executive, administrative, or professional do not get overtime.
Vermont also follows the guidelines found in many other states that we’ve looked at regarding pay on weekend and holidays. For those, they aren’t automatically qualified as “overtime” pay periods. In other words, in Vermont, unless an employer has a prior agreement, they don’t have to pay employees time and a half just for working on the weekend or on a holiday.