Senate Bill 217, the Paid Sick Leave bill, which I have reported on here and here, passed the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly late last week, setting the stage for a possible Senate vote in the next few weeks. Various blogs and website have set the stage for a possible showdown at the legislature.
Four out of ten working people in Connecticut don’t have a single paid sick day available to them all year. Workers who feel compelled to show up work slower and get others sick, increasing costs for employers. Those who can’t make it to work lose income. About one in four parents with a child under one does not have any paid sick time. All of the top twenty most competitive economies in the world – except the U.S. – guarantee paid sick days for workers.
In Connecticut, a network of organizations coordinated by Working Families has launched the Everybody Benefits campaign, which backs Senate Bill 217, designed to guarantee that workers in medium to large companies can earn a few days of sick time each year. Last year, the bill passed the Senate, but never got a vote in the House. This week it passed the Judiciary Committee and moves to the Senate.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) released a press release of their own saying that many businesses oppose the bill:
Connecticut businesses are urging state legislators to oppose SB-217 which mandates paid sick leave, because it would significantly increase business costs, make Connecticut companies less competitive, cause workplace disruptions and hurt our employees, not help them. The bill would hit small businesses and those that rely on part-time and seasonal help the hardest. ….
"This bill would require employers to provide paid sick leave to all hourly employees with indefinite carryover to future years, further increasing costs and seriously harming businesses in Connecticut as well as the state’s economy,” said Bonnie Stewart, CBIA vice president of government affairs. “The bill targets smaller, service industry employers and seasonal companies — the ones that can least afford it.”
According to a recent Connecticut Business & Industry Association survey, the majority of employers (69 percent) offer paid sick leave to their employees. Stewart added that this bill is a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t allow businesses the flexibility to deal with the needs of their employees.
Both sides in this debate appear to be loading up for a battle. Just a few weeks left to see who prevails in this legislative tussle.