Paid Sick Leave Expansion Tops Labor Committee Agenda

Issues & Policies

The legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee hosted its first public hearing Feb. 22, rolling out a series of bills impacting the business community. 

Three bills—from the Governor’s Office, Senate Democrats, and House Democrats—expand the state’s paid sick leave statute to cover all employers, regardless of size and industry.

Employers with 50 or more employees currently must provide paid sick leave to each of their in-state, full, or part-time service workers.

The newly introduced bills essentially require all employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick time annually.

The state Senate passed similar legislation last year, but the House did not act on the bill.

Effective Dates

The latest proposals vary slightly with effective dates, with one being as early as Oct. 1, 2024, while the House version mandates a phased-in schedule.

Under HB 5166, businesses with 25 or more employees must offer paid sick time from Jan. 1, 2025, followed by Jan. 1, 2026 for those with 11 employees, and Jan. 1, 2027 for firms with one or more employees.  

The Senate and Governor’s bills allow employees to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. 

The bills also vary on the accrual rate. The Senate and Governor’s bills allow employees to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. 

Employees can begin to use this time after 100 days of employment or 180 days in the House bill.

All bills apply to both full time and part time employees. 

Targeting Small Businesses

CBIA opposes the measures, noting that the costly mandates disproportionately target small businesses.

 “While these bills are very well intentioned, a one-size-fits-all policy is not a solution,” CBIA’s Ashley Zane told committee members.

“The state should not be treating mom and pop shops on Main Street the same as multi-billion-dollar corporations.

“Costly mandate.” CBIA’s Ashley Zane testifies before the Labor Committee Feb. 22.

“Connecticut already has the eighth highest cost of doing business in the country, and these bills will only add to our reputation of being a bad state for business.”

Zane added that while state law doesn’t require companies to offer paid time off, many employers are already instituting policies to boost recruitment and retention efforts.

“With over 94,000 job openings, employers have had to reevaluate their benefits packages,” she said. “However, some companies may not be able to afford 40 hours.”

Administrative Burden

CBIA’s 2023 Survey of Connecticut Businesses found that 27% of companies are offering flexible work scheduling, 16% are offering paid time off policies, and 92% are offering health insurance as a way to attract talent. “

The bills also require companies to maintain records on the accrual and usage of paid sick time for three years. 

The bills also require companies to maintain records on the accrual and usage of paid sick time for three years.

At any point, they may be audited by the Department of Labor.

CBIA noted that the administrative overhead for this policy will consume significant resources, including investments in new technology and time to ensure proper compliance.

Unemployment Benefits

The committee is also considering another recycled bill from previous sessions, a measure allowing striking workers to claim unemployment benefits.

HB 5164 makes workers who have been on strike for 14 days eligible for unemployment benefits, usually reserved for those who become unemployed through no fault of their own.

CBIA’s Chris DiPentima called the bill “a solution in search of a problem.”

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima told the Connecticut Mirror that the bill “was a solution in search of a problem.”

“Most of our members in Connecticut have very good relationships with their workers,” DiPentima said. “That’s why there isn’t the need for this kind of legislation.”

He added that any mandate which further burdens the Unemployment Trust Fund—which is solely funded by employers and was left insolvent during the COVID-19 pandemic—should be carefully reviewed.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Ashley Zane (860.244.1169) | @AshleyZane9.


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