Appropriations Committee Worsens Paiid Sick Leave Mandate

05.12.2009
Issues & Policies

The legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Monday approved HB-6187, a costly measure requiring Connecticut employers of 50 or more employees to provide their hourly and non-exempt workers a minimum of 6.5 paid sick days per year.

Lawmakers approved the bill after making it harder for employers to administer–and after stripping out a major clue as to how costly it really will be. [CBIA thanks those committee lawmakers who voted against HB-6187.]

Significantly, lawmakers changed the proposal to exclude part-time and temporary workers associated with the state's higher education system. Not coincidentally, the proposal's fiscal note–$1.2 million over two years–was tied that group of state workers. With this carve-out, the costly proposal now has no official fiscal note.

The amended legislation also:

  • Establishes a threshold of 1,040 hours worked for an employee to be eligible for paid sick leave
  • Expands the types of approved uses of sick leave for the care of children
  • Prohibits employers from asking for more than 7 days' notice of an employee's planned sick time.
  • Adds penalities on employers for perceived discrimination or retaliation for an employee's use of paid sick leave.
  • Requires employers to post notice of employees' eligibility for paid sick leave.

HB-6187 is simply unaffordable in many ways, including the new administrative burdens. The Office of Fiscal Analysis had estimated that the proposal, if applied to the state’s university system and technical schools alone–just a small sample of the state's workforce–would cost Connecticut taxpayers $1.2 million over the next two years. Add to that the state’s private-sector employers, cities, towns and nonprofit organizations, and the projected costs of the mandate go much higher.

There are other, much deeper costs beyond the dollars.

Since the beginning of the session, employers have been telling lawmakers that if HB-6187 is enacted, they will have to offset the added expense in some way. They cannot simply absorb this additional cost while struggling to keep their doors open and make payroll.

Many employers have candidly said that the paid sick leave mandate will prevent them from hiring more workers; what’s more, it could force them to reduce wages and other employee benefits—such as health insurance and vacation time.

Ironically, then, employees would bear the consequences of a proposal supposedly intended to help them.

If HB-6187 is passed, Connecticut would become the only state in the nation to mandate paid sick leave. Not only would that make new businesses less likely to locate, invest or expand here, it would also make Connecticut’s existing businesses less able to compete.

Simply put, a sick-leave mandate would bode ill for Connecticut’s economy, its businesses and its employees.

CBIA continues to urge lawmakers to reject HB-6187. For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860-244-1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com. 

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