Federal Paid Sick Leave Mandate Proposed by Dodd

11.17.2009
Issues & Policies

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is proposing emergency federal legislation that would require employers of 15 or more employees to provide seven paid sick days for workers affected by seasonal or swine flu.

According to the senator’s office, the proposal is aimed at slowing the spread of illness by encouraging people who have the flu to stay home and by making it easier for parents to care for sick children or deal with school closings.

While dealing with the effects of the H1N1 flu virus is expected to be difficult for everyone this winter, Connecticut employers know that mandatory paid sick leave will be an even tougher and more costly burden to face.

Already struggling to stay in operation in the recession, employers would be faced with the additional mandated paid-time-off costs, plus costs for replacing workers, even if temporarily. Mandating paid sick leave would also create unpredictable and diminished productivity and disruptions to the level of service businesses can provide.

Mandating paid sick leave will probably result in most employers being forced to cut back in other areas—such as employees’ wages or other benefits—in order to stay afloat.

A one-size-fits-all policy, such as proposed by Sen. Dodd, doesn’t make sense for employers. In order to stay competitive, most Connecticut employers are already working closely with their employees to accommodate both the company’s business needs and workers’ need for time off.

Over the past several years, the General Assembly has considered mandatory paid sick leave proposals but none have been approved–mainly because of deep concerns over their effect on the state’s struggling small businesses and economy.

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

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