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Vermont Nonprofit Law Update: Mandatory Unemployment Insurance for All from July 2024

By June 28, 2024No Comments
A picture of Vermont's back country in an article about Nonprofit unemployment law

Starting July 1, 2024, a significant legislative update will come into effect for nonprofit organizations in Vermont. Previously, nonprofits with fewer than four employees were exempt from the requirement to provide unemployment insurance. With the new law, this exemption is eliminated, mandating all nonprofit organizations, regardless of size, to provide unemployment coverage.

(Click here for all state unemployment details for Vermont.)

Overview of the New Legislation

The forthcoming adjustments to the unemployment insurance (UI) requirements signal a shift toward broader coverage and enhanced worker protection. Here’s what the new rules mandate:

  • Universal Coverage: All nonprofit organizations must now provide unemployment insurance coverage to their employees, eliminating the previous exemption for organizations with fewer than four employees.
  • Mandatory Reporting: Nonprofits are required to report employee wages and new hires to the state.
  • Responsibility for Claims: Organizations will be accountable for paying out eligible unemployment claims.

These changes aim to standardize unemployment benefits across all sectors, ensuring that all employees have access to this critical safety net, regardless of their employer’s size.

Impact on Nonprofit Organizations

  1. Administrative Adjustments

Small nonprofits, which previously might not have engaged with the UI system, will need to establish or update their processes to handle regular reporting and claims management. This may involve adopting new software solutions, training staff on compliance requirements, or outsourcing these tasks to third-party providers.

  1. Financial Considerations

All nonprofits will need to reassess their budgets to accommodate potential UI costs. For some, this will mean setting aside funds to cover the UI tax or reimbursements for claims. Financial planning will become crucial, especially for smaller nonprofits that operate with limited buffers against unexpected expenses.

  1. Choosing Between Taxable and Reimbursable Status

Nonprofits in Vermont can opt to be either taxable or reimbursable employers. Taxable employers contribute a set percentage of payroll to the state’s unemployment fund, which might offer more predictable expenses. Reimbursable employers, however, reimburse the state directly for any benefits paid to their former employees, which could vary significantly from year to year. Nonprofits will need to weigh their options carefully:

  • Taxable Status: Provides predictability in budgeting but generally results in paying into the system even if no claims are made.
  • Reimbursable Status: Potentially lower costs in years with no claims but requires proper budgeting to cover costs when claims are filed.

Note from 501(c) Services: We recommend that nonprofits with less than $750,000 in annual payroll not choose the reimbursable option. The financial risk of potentially large and unexpected unemployment claims can be significant for smaller organizations. It is generally safer for such nonprofits to remain within the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) system.

Preparing for the Transition

  1. Education and Training

It’s crucial for nonprofits to educate their management and HR teams about the new requirements. Consider attending state-offered webinars or workshops, or consulting with legal experts to understand the nuances of compliance.

Click here to watch a recent program from 501 about managing unemployment as a nonprofit. (90 minutes)

  1. Budget Reevaluation

Review and adjust your financial planning to include potential UI costs. It may be wise to consult with a financial advisor who specializes in nonprofit management.

  1. Policy Updates

Update your organization’s policies and employee handbooks to reflect these changes. Clear communication with your team about how these changes will affect them is essential.

The expansion of unemployment insurance coverage is a positive step towards supporting all workers in Vermont, including those employed by small nonprofits. While this change brings additional responsibilities for nonprofit employers, careful planning and proactive management can ease the transition. As always, staying informed and seeking guidance from experts are your best strategies for navigating these changes smoothly.


For more than 40 years, 501(c) Services has been a leader in offering solutions for unemployment costs, claims management, and HR support to nonprofit organizations. Two of our most popular programs are the 501(c) Agencies Trust and 501(c) HR Services. We understand the importance of compliance and accuracy and are committed to providing our clients with customized plans that fit their needs.

Contact us today to see if your organization could benefit from our services.

Are you already working with us and need assistance with an HR or unemployment issue? Contact us here.

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.


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