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March 9, 2023

CBIA opposes bills expanding sick leave requirements for employers

Eric Gjede

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association is opposing proposed bills that would expand paid sick leave benefits to employees, saying they would create a new burden for small businesses, which are already struggling amid the threat of a recession. 

State lawmakers are considering two bills – SB 1178 and HB 6668 – that would increase the amount of sick time employees are entitled to receive. A public hearing before the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee was set for 10 a.m. Thursday.

HB 6668 requires employers with 11 or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of annual paid sick leave. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid leave each year.

SB 1178 requires all employers to double the annual leave allotment from 40 hours to 80 hours.

Both bills would apply to all private sector employers.

Under current state law, employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked during the 365-day year their employer uses to calculate employee benefits. The requirement applies to employers with 50 or more employees, and includes in-state, full- and part-time service workers.

The paid sick leave bills are separate from Connecticut’s paid family and medical leave law, which the legislature approved in 2019.

The legislature passed the sick leave bill in 2011, and it was amended in 2014.

“Connecticut’s already the sixth costliest state to run a business according to CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business study,” said Eric Gjede, CBIA vice president for public policy. “These proposals will only drive up those costs, particularly for small businesses, many of which have yet to emerge from the pandemic recession.”

Stephen Perez, vice president of Wethersfield-based Wingsite Displays, told CBIA that expanding the sick leave requirement to 80 hours annually “will create havoc in the small business community.”

"We were small to begin with — 23 employees and one part-time,” Perez said. “Post-COVID, we are at 16 employees, with one part-time employee.”

Perez told the organization his company voluntarily provides 24 hours of sick leave and 24 hours of personal time to its employees.

Gjede said the latest proposals continue “a troubling pattern of treatment of Connecticut’s small businesses by policymakers.”

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