An effort to expand Connecticut's costly and ineffective paid sick leave mandate could not overcome doubts in the Labor Committee and fell short at the committee's deadline.
It was an appropriate result for a bill (HB 6784) that had been met with tepid support by the legislature as a whole, even among legislators who supported passage of the current paid sick leave mandate in 2011.
Both the latest CNBC and Forbes national rankings of states placed Connecticut near the bottom for costs of doing business.
Holding off on the expansion of the state’s paid sick leave mandate is wise, because while it would do nothing to increase jobs, it would make it more costly to do business in Connecticut.
Job creators are hopeful that lawmakers are wakening to the impact of increasing costs on some of Connecticut's smallest businesses, or at minimum, to the ineffectiveness of many of these one-size-fits-all mandates like paid sick leave.
Connecticut's paid sick leave mandate applies to non-manufacturing businesses with 50 or more employees. It allows the accumulation of up to five days of paid sick leave for service workers in a designated list of hourly job titles.
Since its enactment in Connecticut and a few other states and municipalities, numerous studies have been conducted on the paid sick leave mandate. Despite ambitious promises from advocates, paid sick leave has shown no evidence of reducing illness in workplaces.
What is evident, however, is that paid sick leave has caused other employee benefits to be reduced, fewer available work hours for employees, and higher prices for goods and services.
It has also increased labor costs, including for businesses that already had a paid sick leave policy in place before the law went into effect.
HB 6784 would have expanded the paid sick leave mandate in every way possible. It would have applied the mandate to businesses with 10 or more employees, to all hourly employees (and not just the list of service workers), and would have allowed accumulation of seven days of paid sick leave each year.
In other words, it would have more than doubled down on a costly, ineffective, one-size-fits-all mandate that has shown to neither benefit employees or employers.
This year, lawmakers should be evaluating every legislative proposal for whether it will help or hurt Connecticut’s economy.
HB 6784 failing to win enough support to get out of committee should be seen as evidence of that process.
CBIA encourages lawmakers to reject any efforts to revive the proposal expanding paid sick leave, or creating any other one-size-fits-all mandate in Connecticut.