On June 3, 2011, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill (Public Act No. 11-52) that will require employers with 50 or more employees to provide service workers with up to five days of paid sick leave per year. The governor of
Employers Affected by the New Law
Beginning in 2012, employers that employ 50 or more employees in
For purposes of determining whether an employer is covered by the law in a given year, on January 1 of each year, the employer determines whether it employed 50 or more employees in
An employer is deemed in compliance with the law if the employer offers any other paid leave (such as vacation, personal days, or paid time off) that may be used for any required purpose (see “Use of Accrued Sick Leave” below) and that is accrued at a rate equal to or greater than the rate required by the new law.
Employees Entitled to Paid Sick Leave
An employer must provide paid sick leave for “service workers.” Service workers are non-exempt hourly employees employed in certain enumerated occupations, such as cooks, tellers, office clerks, secretaries, and security guards.
An employer is not required to provide paid sick leave for salaried employees, day laborers, temporary workers, or independent contractors. In addition, the law does not preempt or override the terms of any collective bargaining agreement in effect prior to January 1, 2012.
Accrual of Sick Leave
Beginning January 1, 2012, service workers will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for each 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employees are permitted to carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave to subsequent years, but are not entitled to use more than 40 hours of sick leave per year.
Use of Accrued Sick Leave
Covered employees can begin to use accrued paid sick leave after completing 680 hours of employment, measured from the later of January 1, 2012 or the employee’s date of hire. Unless the employer’s policies or a collective bargaining agreement provide otherwise, an employee will forfeit any unused sick leave upon termination of employment.
An employer must permit a covered employee to use paid sick leave for the following purposes:
Notice of Intent to Use Sick Leave
An employer may require that a covered employee provide up to seven days advance notice of his or her intent to use paid sick leave if the leave is foreseeable (if the leave is unforeseeable, on the other hand, the employer can only require the covered employee to provide notice as soon as practicable).
If a covered employee is on leave for three or more consecutive days, the employer may require reasonable documentation, such as a doctor’s note, that such leave is being taken for a permitted purpose.
Employer Notice Requirements
An employer must, at the time of hiring, provide a notice to each covered employee that:
Employers can meet this requirement by displaying a poster in conspicuous place, accessible to service workers, at the employer’s place of business that contains the information required above in both English and Spanish.
Penalties for Violations of the Law
An employee who believes that his or her employer is violating the law may file a complaint with the Connecticut Labor Commissioner. If an employer is found to have violated the law, the employer will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $100 per violation. In addition, the employee may be awarded other relief such as unused paid sick leave, reinstatement, and back wages.
Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against any employee who requests or uses paid sick leave or who files a complaint with the Connecticut Labor Commissioner. An employer who is found to have engaged in such behavior will be subject to a civil penalty of $500 per violation.
What Employers Should Do
Employers that employ individuals in
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Erik D. Vogt
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