Title 21: Labor
Chapter 5: EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
21 V.S.A. § 472. Leave
§ 472. Leave
(a) During any 12-month period, an employee shall be entitled to take unpaid leave for a period not to exceed 12 weeks:
(1) for parental leave, during the employee's pregnancy and following the birth of an employee's child or within a year following the initial placement of a child 16 years of age or younger with the employee for the purpose of adoption.
(2) for family leave, for the serious illness of the employee or the employee's child, stepchild or ward of the employee who lives with the employee, foster child, parent, spouse or parent of the employee's spouse.
(b) During the leave, at the employee's option, the employee may use accrued sick leave or vacation leave or any other accrued paid leave, not to exceed six weeks. Utilization of accrued paid leave shall not extend the leave provided herein.
(c) The employer shall continue employment benefits for the duration of the leave at the level and under the conditions coverage would be provided if the employee continued in employment continuously for the duration of the leave. The employer may require that the employee contribute to the cost of the benefits during the leave at the existing rate of employee contribution.
(d) The employer shall post and maintain in a conspicuous place in and about each of his or her places of business printed notices of the provisions of this subchapter on forms provided by the commissioner of labor.
(e) An employee shall give reasonable written notice of intent to take leave under this subchapter. Notice shall include the date the leave is expected to commence and the estimated duration of the leave. In the case of the adoption or birth of a child, an employer shall not require that notice be given more than six weeks prior to the anticipated commencement of the leave. In the case of serious illness of the employee or a member of the employee's family, an employer may require certification from a physician to verify the condition and the amount and necessity for the leave requested. An employee may return from leave earlier than estimated upon approval of the employer. An employee shall provide reasonable notice to the employer of his or her need to extend leave to the extent provided by this chapter.
(f) Upon return from leave taken under this subchapter, an employee shall be offered the same or comparable job at the same level of compensation, employment benefits, seniority or any other term or condition of the employment existing on the day leave began. This subchapter shall not apply if, prior to requesting leave, the employee had been given notice or had given notice that the employment would terminate. This subsection shall not apply if the employer can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that:
(1) during the period of leave the employee's job would have been terminated or the employee laid off for reasons unrelated to the leave or the condition for which the leave was granted; or
(2) the employee performed unique services and hiring a permanent replacement during the leave, after giving reasonable notice to the employee of intent to do so, was the only alternative available to the employer to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the employer's operation.
(g) An employer may adopt a leave policy more generous than the leave policy provided by this subchapter. Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to diminish an employer's obligation to comply with any collective bargaining agreement or any employment benefit program or plan which provides greater leave rights than the rights provided by this subchapter. A collective bargaining agreement or employment benefit program or plan may not diminish rights provided by this subchapter. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subchapter, an employee may, at the time a need for parental or family leave arises, waive some or all the rights under this subchapter provided the waiver is informed and voluntary and any changes in conditions of employment related to any waiver shall be mutually agreed upon between employer and employee.
(h) Except for serious illness of the employee, an employee who does not return to employment with the employer who provided the leave shall return to the employer the value of any compensation paid to or on behalf of the employee during the leave, except payments for accrued sick leave or vacation leave. (Added 1989, No. 83, § 1; amended 1991, No. 260 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1997, No. 41, § 1; 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006.)