Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

April 9, 2024

CT may expand its paid sick leave law this year. Here’s what to know

MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG Workers seeking paid sick days legislation attend a February 2024 press conference in Hartford.

Connecticut may soon require nearly all businesses to offer at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each year.

The state first enacted paid sick leave laws in 2011, requiring all businesses with at least 50 employees to offer 40 hours of paid sick leave annually. The legislature failed to pass an expansion last year, but the proposal is back this year, and the state legislature’s Labor and Public Employees committee passed three paid sick leave bills last month.

Leaders in both houses have signaled that they believe the law will pass this year, with Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, naming the issue as one of his top priorities.

Here’s what to know about the proposed changes.

What is paid sick leave?

Paid sick time refers to short-term time off that workers can use when they or a spouse or child are sick, receiving medical treatment, or injured. This can be anything from the flu to more serious conditions.

Paid sick leave is not designed for long-term time off, like maternity or paternity leave. Long-term job-protected leave is covered under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, while income replacement is administered by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority.

Connecticut was the first state to implement paid sick leave, passing a law in 2011 that required employers with more than 50 businesses to offer at least 40 hours of paid sick leave every year.

What are the current proposals?

The Senate, House, and governor have each introduced bills to expand paid sick leave, and the Labor Committee passed all three.

The Senate and governor’s bills, S.B. 7 and S.B. 12, respectively, would both create an accrual system in which an employee earns one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and can begin using their accrued time after having worked 100 days at their job.

The House bill, H.B. 5005, which was amended to include language from H.B. 5166, would automatically grant each employee 40 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of the year that they could use once they’ve worked for 180 days.

The bills would also allow employers the right to request “reasonable” documentation when an employee uses three or more consecutive paid sick days and would let employers take disciplinary action if the days are misused.

The proposals also expand the definition of family to include domestic partners, parents, and individuals considered family, using the same language as the 2019 Paid Family Leave expansion.

What are the arguments for and against expanding the paid sick leave law?

Proponents of the bill argue that both employers and employees benefit from paid sick leave, with a study from the National Partnership for Women & Families finding that sick leave reduces the rate of employees leaving and also increases productivity. Supporters also argue that paid sick leave gives employees more stability and economic security. 

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state’s largest business organization, opposes the bill because it says it adds extra costs for small businesses that are already struggling in the state. Republicans on the committee agreed and also raised concerns about the lack of a formal system to verify that a person is sick.

What was last year’s proposal?

During last year’s legislative session, the Senate passed a bill that would have required every company with at least one employee to offer one hour off for every 30 hours worked.

The governor proposed an exemption for businesses with 11 or fewer employees, but he eventually signed off on the Senate’s bill. However, the House never put the bill up for a vote.

What happens next? 

The bill is currently being studied by the Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis, which will provide its report by 5 p.m. on April 8.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF