The legislature’s Appropriations Committee this week approved a mandate that will require Connecticut employers of 50 or more employees to provide their hourly and non-exempt workers a minimum of 6.5 paid sick days per year.

Committee members also changed the bill (HB-6187) to make it harder for employers to administer their employees’ paid time off. And they stripped out a major factor that gave a glimpse of what the mandate’s true costs will be.

As amended, the proposal now excludes part-time and temporary workers associated with the state’s higher education system. Not coincidentally, the proposal’s fiscal note—$1.2 million over two years—was based on that small sampling of state workers.

Apparently lawmakers believed that the mandate is too much for the state to afford but turned a blind eye to the huge fiscal impact on municipalities and employers.

The amended legislation also:
• Establishes a threshold of 1,040 hours worked for an employee to be eligible for paid sick leave
• Expands the approved use of sick leave for the care of children
• Prohibits employers from asking for more than seven days’ notice of an employee’s planned sick time.
• Penalizes employers for perceived retaliation or discrimination related to an employee’s use of paid sick leave
• Requires employers to post notice of employees’ eligibility for paid sick leave

Employers know that if HB-6187 is enacted, they will have to offset the added expense in some way—such as reducing wages or other employee benefits. They can’t simply absorb the additional cost while struggling to keep their doors open and make payroll.

Ironically, employees would bear the consequences of a proposal that’s supposedly intended to help them.

If HB-6187 is passed, Connecticut would become the only state in the nation to mandate paid sick leave. Not only would that make new businesses less likely to locate, invest or expand here, it would also make Connecticut’s existing businesses less able to compete.

CBIA continues to urge lawmakers to reject HB-6187. For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860-244-1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com. .