Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

What Might Be The Impact of the State Elections on Connecticut Employers? Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Posted in Legislative Developments

There’s been plenty written about what the impact of the federal elections will be on national legislative efforts.  While at an ABA Conference last week, various legislative initiatives concerning independent contractors and the Employee Free Choice Act were now seen as as DOA.

But in Connecticut, we elected the first Democrat as Governor in over two decades. What might that mean for employers?

Frankly with a projected budget deficit of over $3 billion (out of a total budget of $19 billion), it’s really early to make any blanket forecasts. Governor-Elect Malloy, on Colin McEnroe’s WNPR show yesterday described himself as a "fiscal conservative".  Will that translate to him refusing to support initiatives that may cost the state (or employers) more money at a time when things are cash-strapped? That’s unclear.

One legislative item that seems to be up for serious discussion, however, is mandatory paid sick leave.  Malloy has voiced his strong support for the proposal during the campaign.  Back in February, he released this statement:

Providing paid sick days to employees isn’t just the right and fair thing to do, it’s also good public policy…Connecticut has tens of thousands of employees who work in food service and healthcare. Allowing those sick workers time to recuperate benefits the entire population. Additionally, allowing workers to take time to seek early treatment also means fewer trips to the emergency room for untreated illness – saving the state money.

It’s not anti-business. It’s smart public policy, and it’s the right thing to do.”

The votes have seemed to be there in the past.  Republicans in the Connecticut General Assembly, however, will attempt to block its passage but admitted this week that they face an uphill battle in convincing the public and fellow legislators.  Expect to see this on the legislative agenda when the session starts again in early 2011.

Malloy’s website also indicates that he supports workforce training initiatives that should benefit employers and workers alike. It’ll be interesting to see what bills are developed as a result of that policy.

Other bills that could see renewed enthusiasm cover topics such as workplace bullying and gender identity discrimination. 

The upcoming legislative season promises to be among the more interesting ones we’ve seen lately. Stay tuned. 

(Photo Courtesy of 2009 Mayors’ Conference)