by Kia Murrell
CBIA Assistant Counsel

Many employers in Connecticut have wondered if a proposal to mandate paid sick leave (HB-6187) would also apply to state and municipal employers, and if so, at what cost?

According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), the answers are “yes,” and “a lot.” OFA has reported that state and municipal employers of 50 or more would also have to abide by the paid sick leave mandate (to provide a minimum of 6.5 paid sick days each year), and they would pay a hefty price for it.

According to OFA, the mandate would cost regional community technical colleges and the Connecticut State University System at least $500,000 per year in the next two-year state budget by extending paid sick leave to part-time employees.

And that’s just a starting point, says OFA. The estimated costs represent an annualized ongoing fiscal impact that would continue into future years and be subject to inflation. This would be yet another burden on state government already reeling from huge state budget deficits.

(OFA doesn’t calculate the fiscal impact of proposals on municipalities, but the agency did say that the new mandate would affect municipalities, because many of them employ part-time workers who may not already receive the benefit.)

Knowing the potential impact on state and local governments, is it hard to imagine what the cost would be to Connecticut’s private-sector employers?

Employers have already said they can’t afford any higher costs of doing business in Connecticut. If mandated paid sick leave is enacted, the additional costs likely would affect employees’ wages, other benefits—or even jobs themselves.

Proponents of HB-6187 often say that paid sick leave should be considered a “right” rather than a benefit of employment. Unfortunately, they overlook the price tag, which could actually jeopardize the very existence of many jobs.

Ultimately, the costs of mandates such as paid sick leave are borne by businesses, state and municipal employers, and taxpayers, who will inevitably be expected to support them through increased property taxes at a time when they can least afford it. With its estimated $1 million annual price tag for public-sector employers going indefinitely into the future, HB-6187 comes at a too high a price for us all.

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