The state House today is expected to take up the paid sick leave mandate (SB 913) and debate on the controversial proposal is likely to be lengthy. If approved, it would make Connecticut the only state in the nation to have such a mandate — a dubious “distinction” and a stumbling block in the race for jobs and economic recovery. 

With 119,000 jobs lost during the recession, an unemployment rate that’s stuck at 9.1% (matching the national rate) and the recent loss of several companies to neighboring states, Connecticut is in trouble.

The state already is projected to be in last place in the U.S. for jobs in the next five years. While most other states are going all-out to encourage growth and job creation, Connecticut--with mandatory paid sick leave and nearly $2 billion in new tax increases—is moving in the opposite direction.

By contrast, Ohio rejected mandatory paid sick leave mandate when lawmakers there discovered its costs and the fact that it would be a recruiting bonus for other states.

Retaliation possibility

SB 913 also opens up numerous employers with a sick leave policy to a new cause of action from employees who could allege retaliation if the employer seeks to deny or question the use of leave time.

Company leave policies would come under the scrutiny of the state Department of Labor (DOL.

Clear cost

Most significantly, Connecticut state legislators this year were given the clear testimony of private-sector employers throughout the state that the mandate’s cost — in dollars, disrupted workplaces and harm to Connecticut’s image as a place to do businesses—would be too high.

Not only would SB 913 in fact significantly raise business costs for many Connecticut employers, it would continue a trend of state government efforts to micro-manage private-sector businesses.

What’s the message it sends to businesses? “Flee or stay away from Connecticut,” says the New Haven Register.

The costs of doing business in Connecticut are already among the highest in the nation — from high wages, salaries and generous employee benefits to the energy that powers their computers and machinery.

Legislators should work in the session’s final days to that ensure measures — such as SB 913 — that would hurt Connecticut’s business climate and encourage job losses are defeated.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860.244.1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.