Connecticut is poised to become the first state mandating that employers provide paid sick days for employees, and the battle lines include workers advocates on one side who see this as a turning point for employees when it comes to work-life balance, and business interests on the other side predicting the legislation would be costly and undermine companies during a shaky recovery.
The bill was approved by the Connecticut Senate last week and is now headed for the House. After the Senate passed the legislation, both sides came out swinging.
“This is just a terrible piece of legislation. This is an anti-jobs, anti-business bill, despite what was said on the floor. We’ve done nothing — again, nothing — to encourage businesses to grow in Connecticut,” said Joseph Brennan, the senior vice president and chief lobbyist for the 10,000-member Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
“This vote brings the promise of earned paid sick days one step closer to reality for hundreds of thousands of workers in Connecticut who currently have no paid sick time, and its passage is a testament to the hard work of the Everybody Benefits coalition, and workers, researchers, and advocates throughout Connecticut and the country who are fighting for paid sick days standards,” according a statement from the National Partnership for Women and Families.
It’s a unique debate given the United States is one of the only industrialized nations without a mandatory sick day law. Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland don’t have one either. Some states, including California and New Jersey, have passed paid family leave legislation but those are limited and don’t mandate that employers pick up the tab. The city of San Francisco and Washington DC have sick day laws, but no state, said Sadie Kliner, a spokeswoman for the National Partnership.
Only about half of all U.S workers in the private sector even get paid sick time, and (more…)