Paid Sick Leave Bill Adds New Small Business Burden

Issues & Policies

The Lamont administration is pushing a costly expansion of Connecticut’s sick leave mandate to all private sector employers.

HB 6668 overhauls current state law, which the legislature narrowly passed in 2011—also in the aftermath of a recession—making Connecticut the first state in the country with such a mandate.

Employers with 50 or more employees currently must provide paid sick leave to each of their in-state, full, or part-time service workers.

Manufacturers, nationally chartered nonprofit organizations that provide recreation, childcare, and education services, and employers with fewer than 50 employees are currently exempt.

The administration’s bill, which was referred to the Labor and Public Employees Committee Feb. 9, mandates that employers with 11 or more employees provide up to 40 hours of annual paid sick leave.

Those with 10 or fewer employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid leave each year.

Leave Accumulation, Eligibility

Employees will be eligible for leave based on all the reasons outlined in the existing law.

HB 6668 also accelerates the rate that employees accumulate leave and expands the number of family members for which leave can be used to provide care. 

The paid sick leave mandate is separate from Connecticut’s paid family and medical leave law, which the legislature narrowly approved in 2019.

The paid sick leave mandate is separate from Connecticut’s paid family and medical leave law.

That mandate applies to private sector employers with as few as one worker, allowing up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees to care for themselves or an extended family member—the richest benefits in the nation.

Administration officials say the latest proposal is modeled on the Massachusetts law and argue there will be little expense for employers with 10 or fewer employees as they are only required to provide unpaid leave.

Advocates also claimed the proposal will help bring workers back into the workforce.   

‘Another Hurdle’

CBIA will oppose the bill for a multitude of reasons.

For one, data shows that the current law never resulted in decreased illness in the workplace or decreased employee turnover, as advocates claimed in 2011.

Second, after the law took effect in 2012, a study revealed that 90% of Connecticut businesses already offered some type of paid leave for employees.

Despite that, 53% of employers incurred additional cost increases of 2%-5% to comply with the mandate’s various accrual and usage requirements. 

The proposed paid sick leave expansion represents yet another hurdle for small businesses, already stretched to their limits.

CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business dropped Connecticut to 39th last year, a ranking driven in large part by the state’s high costs of living and doing business.

The cable network’s annual business climate study ranked Connecticut the sixth costliest state to run a business and the eighth most expensive to live.

Connecticut’s economy ranked 47th, reflecting the state’s slow post-pandemic GDP growth and jobs recovery.

The proposed paid sick leave expansion represents yet another hurdle for Connecticut small businesses, already stretched to their limits with workplace challenges.

However, it will take an outcry from employers willing to voice their concerns to stop this ill-timed, ill-conceived proposal.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede (860.480.1784) | @egjede.


4 thoughts on “Paid Sick Leave Bill Adds New Small Business Burden”

  1. Richard Rush says:

    Our small manufacturing company has about 30 employees, and currently offers a generous benefits package for all our employees including health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and a 401K retirement plan. We also provided 3 days per year of paid sick leave.

    I just ran the numbers and figured out that this mandate will will require us to provide 2 additional sick days, which will cost my small business approximately $20, 000 in wages & taxes. The wage cost is only part of our loss. The 480 hours of lost productivity will cost us over $100,000 in lost revenue.

    So this bill cost us wages while simultaneously reducing the revenue that covers our overhead, operating cost and profits. I’d be better off if they showed up for work and I wrote each employee a $1,000 check.

    We’re struggling to find workers to meet our production needs. Now they’ want us to allow the ones we
    do have to work less. A direct hit to our productive capacity already restrained by the tight job market.

  2. Jim Flood says:

    The fact that this bill was even considered as a new law is enough to push me over the edge. I don’t have to run the numbers. I will have zero employees in Connecticut after December 31, 2023

  3. james dean says:

    Another brick for us to carry. Thanks, but NO !!! thanks Ned.

    Ned , can you tell me ? where inflation comes from ??? do you think this may also have an effect ??
    Do you think this may have an effect on CT business’s ability to compete ? Do you think ??
    At all ? who ! would have thunk, to think ?!!
    Why not include a mandate to include cash cards for the local marijuana dispensary, while they’re off on sick leave ?
    Maybe you guys can “Chum” it up together.
    The heck with it, let’s all take a few days off ( from taxes i hope).

  4. Rita says:

    It is difficult doing business in Connecticut, but we try to make things work. When the government comes up with these employee benefits, like the sick leave, it takes people away from their jobs; the company loses productivity, and then you asked yourself, “Why are we still here?”. We offer a full benefit package for our employees, Earned Paid Time Off, Paid bonuses, and paid Vacation time. The paid sick leave would hurt us. Connecticut is not helping small businesses, they are destroying them.

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