Mandatory Paid Time Off Approved by Labor Committee

03.11.2010
Issues & Policies

The legislature’s Labor Committee this week approved a proposal that would make Connecticut the first state in the nation to mandate paid time off—a strange distinction in a struggling economy that’s shedding jobs.

SB-63 requires many Connecticut employers with 50 or more employees to provide a minimum of one hour paid time off for every 40 hours worked.

Despite the added costs, SB-63 does not indicate how employers—many of which are trying hard to stay in business–are to pay for the new benefit. Businesses in fact told the committee that if paid time off is mandated, their increased costs would have to be offset somewhere else—in lower wages, reduced benefits, fewer hours offered or in some cases at the cost of the job itself.

Recognizing the danger to jobs and voting against the measure were the committee’s three Republicans—Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford Springs), Rep. Selim Noujaim (R-Waterbury), Rep.William Aman (R-South Windsor) and one Democrat, Rep. Ernest Hewett (D-New London).

CBIA also thanks the legislature’s Republican leadership for taking a strong stand against the proposal, and we appreciate the many Republican legislators who testified before the committee.

Voting for the mandatory paid time off measure were Sen. Edith Prague (D-Columbia), Rep. Kevin Ryan (D-Oakdale), Sen. Edwin Gomes (D-Bridgeport), Rep. Tim O’Brien (D-New Britain), Rep. Louis Esposito (D-West Haven), Rep. Barbara Lambert (D-Milford). Absent was Rep.Melissa Olson (D-Norwich).

Battered by the recession, other states are staying away from enacting mandates like this that would increase business costs and make their states less attractive to economic development and job growth.

The issue of mandatory paid time off is sending a message to Connecticut’s business community that some lawmakers are still out of touch with today’s economic realities and have priorities other than job retention and creation.

SB-63 is now in the Senate, where it failed to gain approval last year. CBIA again urges lawmakers to walk away from a mandatory paid time off policy that will worsen, not improve, Connecticut’s economy.

Meanwhile, among the other measures approved by the Labor Committee this week were:

Workers’ compensation: SB-61 will increase costs by blocking employers from making sure that injured workers get only the necessary and appropriate medical care in workers’ comp cases.

Discrimination cases: HB-5206 would propel routine discrimination cases into expensive court cases by bypassing the state’s administrative review process.

Employee misclassification: HB-5204 would help cut down the practice of misclassifying part-time and temporary employees as independent contractors in order to try to skirt state and federal labor and tax law.

For more information about labor-related proposals, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860.244.1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.

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CBIA IS FIGHTING TO MAKE CONNECTICUT A TOP STATE FOR BUSINESS, JOBS, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. A BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE MEANS A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.