Paid Sick Leave Law Creating Obstacles for Employers
Less than a year after Connecticut’s paid sick leave mandate was enacted, many employers have raised concerns about the inconsistency and inflexibility of the law that has made compliance with it problematic.
In January, Connecticut became the first state to require employers of 50 more employees to provide paid sick leave to each of their full- or part-time service workers. (“Service workers” is defined in the legislation as a list of more than 60 job titles and functions, including data processors, restaurant and food service workers, security guards and front desk personnel). Under the law, a service worker accrues one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
Employers are required to allow workers to accrue 40 paid sick leave hours in a single calendar year, equivalent to five work days. Unused paid sick leave may be carried over to the next calendar year, but workers are not entitled to use more than five days in any single year.
Currently, manufacturers; nationally chartered nonprofit organizations that provide recreation, child care and education services; and employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the paid sick leave mandate.
While employers voiced concerns prior to the law’s passage, now that they are actually administering it, additional issues have surfaced.
For example, many businesses track the benefits they provide employees on a fiscal year basis, or from the date an employee was hired. The law’s inflexible requirement that employers track workers' paid sick leave accrual and use on a calendar year basis–rather than the way other benefits are tracked–has led to costly administrative burdens for employers.
Despite the law having been written in a way to exempt manufacturers from the mandate, a one-word technical error has led, in a few instances, to manufacturers with more than one physical location having to provide paid sick leave to some employees and not others solely based on the business activities performed in each location.
What’s more, the law was intended to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees. However, given an employer’s method of proving the number of employees to the Labor Department is based on a calendar quarter, it’s possible, as a result of turnover, that an employer who never had 50 or more employees at a given moment would be reporting 50 or more employees and therefore be subject to the law.
These administrative problems must be addressed by the next session of the legislature, or through regulation.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede at 860.244.1931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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