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BREAKING: Connecticut Senate Passes Controversial Paid Sick Leave Bill

Posted in Legislative Developments

The Connecticut Senate this evening voted 18-17 to pass the Paid Sick Leave bill, S.B. 913.  The bill went through an amendment today which completely replaces the previously printed bill.

You can access the new (and passed) version here.

I’ll have full details of the measure in a followup post, but here’s the brief rundown.

  • The bill would apply to employers who have 50 or more employees.
  • Notably, manufacturers and the YMCA are exempt from the bill.
  • The bill purports to apply only to “service workers”.  But note that the definition of service workers is quite broad.  Indeed, arguably the definition perhaps among the most tortured of definitions in all of our employment laws.  It will require employers to figure out if their employee falls within one of over 50 “broad or detailed occupation code numbers and titles, as defined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Standard Occupational Classification system”.  (Good luck.)
  • These “service workers” do not include day or temporary workers.
  • Service workers will be entitled to 5 paid sick leave days a year (based on certain criteria.)
  • These paid sick leave days can be carried over for one year.
  • Notably (and this may be the exception that covers most employers), employers that already offer “other paid leave” including paid vacation, personal days or paid time off will be deemed to comply with the rule if they offer at least 5 days.  In other words, if you offer employees 5 days paid time off each year, then you will not be required to provide your employees with an additional five days of paid sick leave.
  • Sick leave may be used for the employee’s own condition or a family member.

The bill, if signed by the Governor (which is expected), will become effective January 1, 2012.  He released the following statement after its passage:

“I applaud the 18 senators who voted for this bill. This piece of legislation is a reasonable compromise that represents good public policy. It exempts industries where appropriate, it ensures that the benefit won’t be abused, and most importantly, it protects public health. It shouldn’t be the case that people who are frontline service workers – people who serve us food, who care for our children, and who work in hospitals, for example – are forced to go to work sick to keep their jobs. It’s my hope that the House of Representatives will take up this piece of legislation, pass it, and I can sign it into law.”

The measure must go back to the House on the revised bill.  Again, I’ll have a more detailed analysis in a followup post.