Since 1977, The Legal Rights of Women in Vermont has been a “go to” source of information for Vermont women, their families, and the professionals that serve them. Written in plain language, the handbook, although written for women, covers issues affecting all Vermonters, such as marriage and divorce, adoption, wills and probate, women’s health, employment and education, housing and public accommodations, violence, public assistance and government benefits, insurance as well as others. New features include information on human trafficking, health insurance, same sex marriage, and immigration. The new edition allows users to link directly to the Vermont Commission on Women’s comprehensive resource directory and to federal and state statute websites. The result is reader-friendly content with easy-access reference links.
7th Edition Acknowledgements (305 KB)
Chapter 1: Adoption, Guardianship & Emancipated Minors (128 KB)
Chapter 2: Consumer Protection & Fair Credit (132 KB)
Chapter 3: Domestic Relations (282 KB)
Chapter 4: Education (100 KB)
Chapter 5: Employment Rights (249 KB)
Chapter 6: Housing & Property Rights (93 KB)
Chapter 7: Immigration (140 KB)
Chapter 8: Insurance (291 KB)
Chapter 9: Name & Gender Marker Changes (84 KB)
Chapter 10: Public Accommodations (90 KB)
Chapter 11: Public Assistance & Government Benefits (145 KB)
Chapter 12: Reproductive Rights (118 KB)
Chapter 13: Violence Against Women & Children (326 KB)
Chapter 14: Wills, Probate Court, & Advanced Directives (134 KB)
Click here to subscribe to Vermont Commission on Women’s monthly e-newsletter, called VIEW (short for Vermont Information Exchange for Women).
Child marriage occurs when one or both parties are under 18 years old at the time of the marriage, and it happens in the U.S., and it's legal in every state, including Vermont. 57,800 minors aged 15 to 17 were married in the U.S. in 2014. Approximately 90% of the children married in recent years were girls. 221 Vermonters age 15 – 17 were married between the years of 2000 – 2016,
according to Vermont Department of Health records; 84% of them were girls. Read VCW's new policy brief here.
In the U.S., 47 states have a sales tax, and most of those apply the tax to the sale of feminine hygiene products. Some states apply a luxury tax to these products. Taxation of feminine hygiene products has garnered international attention in recent years, and Connecticut, New York, Illinois, and Canada passed legislation to exclude feminine hygiene products from tax in 2016. In 2017, a number of states are considering bills that would do the same. In Vermont, a bill (H.43) has been introduced that would add feminine hygiene products to the list of items excluded from sales tax. Read VCW's info sheet for more information.
The Vermont Commission on Women received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau to study the feasibility of a paid family and medical leave program in Vermont. This study was conducted by IMPAQ International, in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the UVM’s Center for Rural Studies, and Lake Research Partners and completed in 2016. Elements of the study included: a cost-benefit analysis; financing, eligibility, and benefit modeling; an implementation feasibility analysis and public opinion surveying; an economic-impact analysis and profiles of families; and both a survey and focus groups of Vermont employers. We hope the findings enrich and inform policy conversations. View highlights from the study here. View the full study here.
In January 2017, a bill (H. 136) was introduced in the Vermont Legislature that would ensure healthy pregnant workers in Vermont receive reasonable workplace accommodations such as having access to water, access to a stool or a chair, longer or more frequent restroom breaks, or avoiding heavy lifting. The bill was signed into law May 4th!
Read VCW's testimony on H.136 here.
Read VCW’s press release, New Protections for Pregnant Workers here.
Read VCW's policy brief for more information about these protections.
Change The Story Vermont | Status Reports
Spearheaded by Vermont Commission on Women, Vermont Works for Women, and the Vermont Women's Fund, Change The Story VT is a multi-year initiative to align philanthropy, policy, and programs to fast-track women's economic progress in Vermont.
Vermont Women and Leadership - examines women serving as elected or appointed public servants at state and municipal levels, as leaders of community institutions, and as leaders of organizations in the private and non-profit sectors.
Sneak Preview: Vermont Women in Leadership - quick preview of gender partiy in the public sphere. Vermont, take a bow: you're #1 for women serving as state legislators!!
Women's Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy - examines business ownership by women and its potential to bolster and invigorate Vermont’s economy.
Where Vermont Women Work...and Why It Matters - focuses specifically on occupational segregation, its impact on women’s wages, and the way in which it compromises Vermont’s ability to make the most of home-grown talent.
Women, Work and Wages in Vermont - focuses on demographic data and represents months of diving deep into state and national data, reports, and other ancillary resources to create an accurate snapshot of the state of women in Vermont when it comes to work and wages.
Important Workplace Laws
For Workers | For Employers
These flyers, one designed for workers, the other designed for employers, provide information about rights and responsibilities under equal pay laws and other laws governing the workplace. For example: Vermont workers now the right to request flexible working arrangements without fear of retaliation. Those intermediate or long-term changes might include working from home, changes in the number of days or hours worked, changes in work arrival or departure times or job-sharing. Employers must discuss and consider such requests at least twice per calendar year. Other information incorporated includes current equal pay laws, how to handle suspected pay discrimination, wage disclosure laws, pregnant worker’s rights, lactation accommodations, anti-retaliation protection, and information concerning family and medical leave.
Important Workplace Laws Vermont Workers Should Know (PDF, 167 KB)
Important Workplace Laws Vermont Employers Should Know (PDF, 196 KB)
The wage gap tends to grow during the course of a career. Raises, bonuses, and even salaries at new jobs are frequently based on current earnings and salary history; for women and minorities already being paid less, this perpetuates the wage gap. In Vermont, a bill (H.294) was introduced that would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring an applicant’s salary history until after they’ve made an offer for employment, including an initial salary offer. Read VCW's info sheet for more information.
Employers and employees: find out more about the needs and rights of moms returning to work.
Nursing Moms (PDF file, 1202 KB)
The Status Of Women And Girls In Vermont | Reports
Women in Leadership and Public Life 2015 (PDF file, 412 KB)
2013 Women in Public Life (PDF file, 856 KB)
2011 Women in Public Life (PDF file, 274 KB)
2009 Status Report (PDF file, 735 KB)
2008 Status Report (PDF file, 384 KB)
2007 Status Report (PDF file, 417 KB)
2006 Status Report (PDF file, 701 KB)
2005 Status Report (PDF file, 335 KB)
2004 Status Report (PDF file, 4648 KB)
2003 Status Report (PDF file, 3234 KB)
Domestic Violence Doesn't Stay Home When Victims Go to Work.VCW partnered with the Vermont Attorney General's office, the Vermont Council on Domestic Violence and other advocates to address domestic violence as a public health and safety issue in the workplace. Download these materials for your workplace:
Domestic Violence: A Workplace Issue (PDF file, 78 KB)
Full Report of 2011 Study: How Does Domestic Violence Affect the Vermont Workplace? A survey of male offenders enrolled in batterer intervention programs in Vermont.
Schmidt, M.C. & Barnett, A. M.C. & Barnett, A. (2011). Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Center for Rural Studies
Executive Summary of Study
Schmidt, M.C. & Barnett, A. M.C. & Barnett, A. (2011). Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Center for Rural Studies
Model Workplace Policy
Adopting a Domestic and Sexual Violence policy will heighten awareness and provide guidance for employees and management in addressing the occurrence of domestic and sexual violence and their effects in the workplace. You will find two sample policies, one an abbreviated version that addresses basic workplace concerns, the other a model comprehensive policy. These materials were assembled by the Domestic Violence and the Workplace committee of the Vermont Council on Domestic Violence for the report (above).
This 20-page booklet provides information for employees and employers about parental, family, and short-term leave. Information includes descriptions of federal and Vermont state laws, detailed definitions for each type of leave, and answers to commonly-asked questions. UPDATE: In June of 2012, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that annual and sick leave accruals are not employee benefits. Therefore, your employer is not required to accrue vacation and sick leave hours for the unpaid hours that you take off for either short-term or long-term family or parental leave. However your employer may continue to allow you to accrue vacation and sick time during either short or long term leave.
Vermont Guide to Parental and Family Leave (PDF file, 5 MB)
This 20-page booklet provides general information, including a definition of sexual harassment, descriptions of state and federal laws, policies for Vermont businesses, and steps employees can take if harassed.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (PDF file, 674 KB)
Getting Appointed to Vermont State Boards and Commissions (PDF file, 1,037 KB)
Vermont boards and commissions have multiple appointing authorities, many include the Governor. Link here for vacancy information and an application: Governor's Boards & Commissions Office
Tips, tricks and resources for parents and guardians when confronted with objectionable sexual, sexist or violent language or imagery. Listen, Talk (and Keep Talking) (PDF file, 243 KB)
The first of its kind in the nation, the Governor's Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force was created (in 2011) by Governor Shumlin to evaluate Vermont’s domestic and sexual violence prevention resources and programs, identify gaps in services, identify ways to increase coordination of prevention efforts around the state, and make recommendations to enhance and improve prevention efforts in Vermont. Workgroups of the taskforce examined data collection, college campus prevention efforts, workplace approaches, men’s attitudes, military practices, effective social change campaigns and prevention practices currently in place.
The report features 7 recommendations:
1. Support the creation and implementation of a comprehensive statewide plan to prevent domestic and sexual violence
2. Support and help develop a statewide, multipronged prevention campaign
3. Build capacity for bystander engagement strategies for all ages
4. Increase the engagement of men in domestic and sexual violence prevention
5. Strengthen Vermont college campuses’ response to prevention of domestic and sexual violence
6. Enhance data collection and accessibility
7. Establish a Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at the State level
View the report. (PDF 3.17 MB)
"What Teen Girls Say" | Statewide Surveys of Vermont Girls
Vermont Commission on Women and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains collaborated on these statewide surveys of teen girls in 6th through 12th grade. Survey topics and questions were created by a panel of girls. That panel also presented survey results to legislators at the Vermont State House each year, consequently, “What Teen Girls Say” survey results captured the attention of policy makers, school officials, parents and the media. Topics included: social media; planning for jobs or college; making, saving, and spending money; bullying and harassment; health and wellness; and growing up in Vermont.
2011: Relationships (PDF file, 151 KB)
2010: Employment and Education (PDF file, 224 KB)
2009: Money Matters (PDF file, 1,982 KB)
2008: Health and Wellness (PDF file, 1,089 KB)
2007: Bullying and Harassment (PDF file, 1,053 KB)
2006: Growing Up in Vermont (PDF file, 1,340 KB)
VCW's Resource Lists
The Vermont Commission on Women took part in this collaborative effort to improve conditions for women inmates at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in 2012. Reclaiming Lost Ground for Vermont's Incarcerated Women. (PDF file, 459 KB)
A set of comprehensive educational materials for health consumers, these booklet detail how managed care works, how to choose a health plan, what to do to get the health care you and your family need, what your rights are in managed care, and what to do if you have a problem with your health plan. Managed Care and You (PDF file, 5,847 KB)
Adopted by VCW in 2005, this paper addressed the need of Vermont women to access affordable health care throughout their lives. Health Care in VT (PDF file, 155 KB)