A mandate requiring Connecticut employers to provide paid sick leave died in the State Senate this week when it did not come up for a vote before the legislature adjourned Wednesday night. Right up until the deadline, business leaders were battling HB-6187 because it would be bad for their companies and for Connecticut's economy.

In addition, a proposal to severely restrict employer-employee communications in the workplace also died when it was not taken up in the House before adjournment. SB-365, the so-called 'captive audience' measure, would have prevented employers from speaking to their employees about many subjects--including benefits, the economy and the health of the company--in mandatory workplace meetings.

At the Capitol
Here are some scenes from earlier in the week as business leaders took the time to meet directly with their senators in the halls of the State Capitol and ask them to reject the paid sick leave mandate:

Last week, the House approved and sent to the Senate the proposal that would have significantly increased workplace costs and administrative burdens, and would have led to more job losses. HB-6187 mandated Connecticut employers of 50 or more employees to provide their hourly and non-exempt workers a mandatory minimum number of paid sick days per year.

Given the state’s economic situation and the 65,600 Connecticut jobs already lost in the past year, efforts to make sick days more important than jobs was both ill-timed and ill-advised. Residents of the state have repeatedly said that jobs are their No. 1 priority, but the legislature continues to bypass that concern with measures such as HB-6187 that will make it more difficult to retain jobs.

HB-6187 was approved in a 88-58 votein the House, with a number of Democrats joining Republicans in opposing the proposal.

Efforts to mandate paid sick leave is yet another example of the sharp disconnect between state lawmakers and the realities of today’s poor economy. It is a costly policy that disregards the many different types of workplaces and industries found in Connecticut and the financial health and business demands of employers.

The reality is that the only way many employers can accommodate this additional unbudgeted cost is by reducing other employee benefits, wages, and in some cases, the jobs themselves. What’s more, the bill will create a huge administrative burden on employers, especially smaller ones, in managing varying amounts of time-off for their employees.

Curiously, state lawmakers found the mandate too costly for the state to afford—$1.2 million over two years—so they revised the bill to reduce its fiscal impact on government. But they turned a blind eye to the huge impact it will have on municipalities and employers.

For more information, contact Kia Murrell at 860-244-1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.