Title 21: Labor
Chapter 5: EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
Sub-Chapter 6: Fair Employment Practices
21 V.S.A. § 496. Legislative leave
§ 496. Legislative leave
(a) Any person who, in order to serve as a member of the General Assembly, must leave a full-time position in the employ of any employer, shall be entitled to a temporary or partial leave of absence for the purpose of allowing such employee to perform any official duty in connection with his or her elected office. Such leave of absence shall not cause loss of job status, seniority, or the right to participate in insurance and other employee benefits during the leave of absence.
(b) An employee who intends to seek election to the General Assembly and to invoke, if elected, his or her right to a leave of absence pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, shall notify his or her employer of those intentions in writing within 10 days after filing the primary election nominating petition required by 17 V.S.A. § 2353 or of taking any other action required by 17 V.S.A. chapter 49, to place his or her name on a primary or general election ballot. An employee who fails to give notice to his or her employer as required by this section shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to a leave of absence under subsection (a) of this section.
(c) An employer who contends that granting the leave of absence required by subsection (a) of this section will cause unreasonable hardship for his or her business may appeal for relief by letter to the chairman of the State Labor Relations Board created by 3 V.S.A. § 921. The right to such appeal shall be waived unless it is filed within 14 days of receipt of the notice required by subsection (b) of this section. The appeal shall state the name of the employee and the reasons for the alleged unreasonable hardship. The remedy created by this subsection shall be the exclusive remedy for an employer who claims unreasonable hardship as a result of the application to him or her of subsection (a) of this section.
(d) The Chair of the State Labor Relations Board, or any member of the Board designated by the Chair, shall serve as an arbitrator in any case appealed pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. The proceedings shall include an opportunity for the employee to respond, orally or in writing, to the allegations of unreasonable hardship raised by the employer, and shall be conducted in accord with the rules of practice of the State Labor Relations Board. Within 30 days of receipt of a notice of appeal, the arbitrator shall issue an order, which shall be binding on both parties, either granting or denying the employer's claim of unreasonable hardship. If the employer's claim is granted, the employee shall not be entitled to the protection of subsection (a) of this section. In reaching his or her decision, the arbitrator shall consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:
(1) The length of time the employee has been employed by the employer.
(2) The number of employees in the employer's business.
(3) The nature of the employer's business.
(4) The nature of the position held by the employee and the ease or difficulty and cost of temporarily filling the position during the leave of absence.
(5) Any agreement entered into between the employee and employer as a condition of employment.
(e) This section is not applicable if the employer employs five or fewer persons immediately prior to the first day of the leave of absence.
(f) Any attorney, party, witness, or juror who, while a member of and during sessions of the General Assembly, is assigned or scheduled to appear in any court of the State of Vermont shall be entitled to a leave of absence or postponement from such judicial duties when his or her duties in the legislature are more compelling, for the purpose of allowing the member to perform any official duties in connection with his or her elected office. The leave of absence or postponement shall not prejudice the member or the cause involved. (Added 1979, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1981, No. 230 (Adj. Sess.); 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 72.)