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Legislature Changes Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law Coverage

Connecticut employers need to re-evaluate whether they are covered by the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law based on changes to the statute. Broadly speaking, the law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to certain employees. Earlier this year, the legislature amended the law in a few respects.

Most significantly, the method for calculating whether an employer has 50 employees was simplified. Now, employers are subject to the law if they have 50 or more employees during the company’s payroll for the week including October 1. So, on January 1, 2015, employers would look back at the payroll week including October 1, 2014. If there were 50 or more employees on payroll that week, the employer is subject to the law. But don’t get too clever – it is now unlawful to terminate, dismiss, or transfer employees for the purpose of falling below the threshold. (It appears that an employer may delay hiring until after that payroll week in order to avoid coverage, though.)

Another legislative fix should make administration of the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law easier. Employers are now free to set their own 365-day benefit year, rather than using a calendar year. This change should be particularly helpful to educational institutions, as they tend not to use calendar years for benefit purposes.

Employers that are subject to the law should consult competent labor and employment counsel to ensure their policies are in compliance. Employers that do not grant sick leave to part-time workers or that do not allow sick time to be used for all of the reasons permitted by the statute may find themselves out of compliance. The statute requires that a covered employee be able to use paid sick time for a child’s, a spouse’s, or his or her own mental or physical illness, injury, health condition, medical diagnosis, or preventative medical care. In addition, employers must allow the use of sick time for certain reasons related to family violence or sexual assaults. Requesting documentation to justify the use of sick time can also put an employer in violation of the law if not done properly.

Now is the time to look at your policies to ensure they are in compliance. Our team of labor and employment attorneys can assist you in determining whether the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law applies to your business, which employees are entitled to paid sick leave, and how to administer leave in compliance with the law.