A bill that would allow workers to accumulate one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked has been revived again this year. Last year it passed the Senate, but died on the House calendar.
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said Monday that the bill is reasonably drafted to be applied to employers with more than 50 employees. He said when he talked to business owners while on the campaign trail many of them had already adopted this policy on their own.
The maximum amount of paid sick days an employee could earn under the bill would be 6.5 days per year and none of those days could be carried over to the following year.
Gloria Duquette, a certified nurse’s assistant, said working while she’s sick isn’t healthy for her or her clients. But “I just can’t afford to lose those days,” she said.
“Who of us doesn’t get sick every once in awhile?” Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, one of the bill’s main proponents, said.
Prague implored the opponents of the legislation to read an article on Forbes.com that shows employers save money when its employees stay home when they’re sick. Click here to read that article.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association said it would still oppose the bill again this year.
Kia Murrell, assistant counsel for CBIA, said this is one of the worst tomes to increase mandates on employers. She said some of the industries that may be affected by the legislation include construction, tourism, and food service.
“Sick leave is not an entitlement, it’s a benefit,” Murrell said.
Proponents argue it’s a public health issue. The Everybody Benefits coalition estimates there are 630,000 employees in Connecticut that don’t get paid sick days. Among them are hundreds of thousands who work in the food service, retail, and health care field, where a sick employee can easily spread illness to the public.
The Everybody Benefits coalition is optimistic that its Paid Sick Days bill will pass both chambers this year.
Jon Green, executive director of Connecticut Working Families, said Speaker of the House Chris Donovan has said he would like to run the bill this year in the House. Last year former Speaker of the House James Amann was an obstacle. “This year I think we have a friendlier Speaker,” Green said.