Connecticut Becomes the First State to Require Paid Sick Leave

Starting in 2012, Connecticut employers must offer paid sick leave to service employees.

On January 1, 2012, a new Connecticut law went into effect that requires employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to certain employees. In passing this law, Connecticut became the first state to require paid sick days; a few local governments (including San Francisco and Washington, DC) have adopted this requirement, and several other states are considering doing the same.

Experts estimate that the new law will cover at least 200,000 employees. Here are some of the details:

  • The law applies only to companies with at least 50 employees. Manufacturers aren’t subject to the law, nor are nationally chartered nonprofits that provide recreation, child care, and education services. Employers that already give employees at least 40 hours of paid time off each year that can be used as sick leave (such as sick days, personal days, or vacation time) don’t have to provide any additional time off under the law.
  • Only service workers are covered. This includes those employed in the retail, hospitality, food preparation and service, administrative, health care, janitorial and cleaning, claims processing, and a number of other industries. Independent contractors, day laborers, and temporary workers aren’t covered.
  • Services workers are covered only if they are entitled to earn minimum wage and overtime. In other words, exempt employees aren’t covered by the law; only nonexempt employees are protected.
  • Covered employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum entitlement of 40 hours per year. Employees may also carry over up to 40 hours into the next year.
  • Employees may use the time off for their own illness, injury, or health condition; for a spouse’s or child’s illness, injury, or health condition; or to handle certain medical, legal, and practical issues stemming from family violence or sexual assault.