Connecticut Gov. Lamont Signs Paid Leave Bill into Law

Ned Lamont
by Christian Wade


Connecticut employers will be required to provide workers with up to a week of paid leave under a proposal signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont, despite a number of concerns from the state’s business community that it will drive up costs and hurt bottom lines.

The new law pushed through the state Legislature despite Republican opposition, will require Connecticut employers in most retail and service occupations to provide up to 40 hours of annual leave. It would allow eligible workers to accrue one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum mandated benefit of 40 hours a year.

Lamont said the update to the state’s 2011 paid leave lead “will help ensure that people do not have to choose between going to work sick and sacrificing a day’s wage.”

“Given what we just experienced during the recent outbreak of a viral pandemic, it’s appropriate that we take a look at our paid sick days laws and evaluate how they are working and how they can be strengthened,” the Democrat said Tuesday during a ceremonial signing of the bill.

The measure repeals most exemptions to the 2011 law — which covers businesses with 50 or more employees — and reduces the threshold for coverage from companies with 50 or more employees to those with 25 or more on Jan. 1, 2025. The threshold would fall to 11 employees in 2026 and to one in 2027, under the new law.

While the new rules allow leave eligibility based on illness, treatment, medical appointments and mental health issues, they also bar employers from requesting employee documentation verification.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said that expanding paid sick days to more workers “makes sense, both from an economic and a societal standpoint.”

“For low and moderate-income people, the loss of even a couple of day’s pay is a real hardship; it could mean the difference between having the rent that month or not,” he said, adding the new requirements will also be “a boon to employers to have a broader pool of prospective employees and a happier, healthier, more productive workforce.”

Business leaders lobbied hard against the bill’s passage, arguing it would hurt employers financially while they are still recovering from the residual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and make the state less competitive.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association called the bill “yet another unfortunate example of policymakers making it more burdensome for small businesses to operate” in the state.

Republicans also blasted the approval of the paid leave law update, saying the new policy would negatively impact small employers with few employees and make it difficult to attract new businesses.

“I just think that this is yet another government mandate that is not workable,” House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, a North Branford Republican, told reporters this week. “Democrats like to spend other people’s money and give everything away.”

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Christian Wade is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Ned Lamont” by Ned Lamont.





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