Employers, it’s time to tune up on your Spanish.

Buried in the new bill on Paid Sick Leave is a section that suggests to employers in Connecticut that a posting should be written in both English and Spanish.

Time to learn Spanish?

First the context: Senate Bill 913 says that at the time of hiring, each employers should notify new service workers: 1)  of the entitlement to paid sick leave (and the amount); that the employer is prohibited from retaliating against the worker for taking the leave; and that the worker can file a compliant with the Department of Labor for violations.

But the bill suggests a path that virtually all employers will likely follow instead: Post a notice.

Posting notices is common.  For example, Connecticut’s electronic monitoring statute suggests that a notice be done in a conspicuous place but it doesn’t specify a language (presumably inferring that a notice in English is required).

But this Senate Bill is different. It suggests that employers may comply by displaying a poster that contains the information above “in both English and Spanish.” (emphasis added).

What are most employers supposed to do? Hire a Spanish speaker to translate the bill’s provisions into Spanish? Seek out someone on the staff to assist?

Presumably, the Connecticut Department of Labor (and companies that specialize in posters) will come out with a notice at some point. But until then, this new law suggests that Spanish is now a language that employers need to be aware of.

My quick review of other employment statutes (like FMLA) do not show any other instances of employers notices being written in Spanish.  Is this an indicator of where employment law regulation is headed in this state or is it an outlier? Time will tell.

But for now, employers who have to comply with this new soon-to-be-law should be sure that any notices they draw up are done in both Spanish and English

(If you’re interested in what others are writing about this bill — particularly from Ohio, check out this post by the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog.)