A land mark bill requiring employers with 50 or more employees to offer paid sick leave passed the House by a vote of 76 to 65 early Saturday morning with three New Britain Democratic state representatives backing the measure expected to be signed into law by Governor Malloy. The bill provides paid sick leave to service workers and excludes manufacturers and certain non-profit organizations. Under the bill, service employees would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked. The number of permitted sick days is capped at five per year.
“It is important to stand up for working families,” said State Representative Tim O’Brien (D-24). “We have sent a message that Connecticut values its workers and people won’t lose their jobs because of sick family members or if they become ill. I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire not to be exposed to a sick worker at a restaurant because he or she had no choice but to come to work.”
“I have worked in the Human Services field for over 30 years and have heard from many clients that lost their jobs due to illness or due to a family member’s illness because they did not have sick days,” said State Representative Robert Sanchez (D-25). “This legislation is the right thing to do for many employees in our state.”
“This is not simply a good thing for Connecticut’s workers—it is good for the health of everyone in the state,” said State Representative Peter Tercyak (D-New Britain), House Chair of the Human Services Committee. “People will no longer have to choose between having their paycheck cut or going to work sick. By giving folks the basic right to stay home when they are sick, we are preventing disease from spreading to their co-workers or the public.”
The earliest service workers can begin accruing sick leave is January 1, 2012. The workers must have worked for the employer for at least 680 hours and worked an average of at least 10 hours a week for the employer in the most recent completed calendar quarter.