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Initiative Name: 

Connecticut Is First State to Mandate Paid Sick Leave




Policy (Federal, State & Local), Physical Health, Basic Needs/Economic Stability, Family Leave

Source Of Information: 

ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates



Year Started: 



In June 2011, Connecticut became the first state to pass paid sick leave legislation. The law, which went into effect on January 1, 2012, requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide certain workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. To accrue the benefit, employees must be classified as “service workers” and have worked at least ten hours per week during the previous quarter. Leave can be taken if the worker is ill or injured, or for the worker to care for a child or spouse. Employers that already offer at least five days of paid time off a year will not be affected by the new law. Manufacturers and some nonprofit organizations are also exempt.

The law was passed in response to data showing that approximately 400,000 Connecticut employees - mostly low-wage earners working in food service, retail, and health care - did not have paid sick days. Studies have shown that employees without paid sick leave regularly come to work when ill, increasing the chance that they will spread disease to coworkers and customers. They are also less able to make time for preventative health care or keep sick children home from school. Connecticut’s new law has given an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 service workers in 68 occupations, including home health aides, cashiers, cooks, nurses, child care workers, bus drivers and waiters, the opportunity to stay home when they or their family members are ill without fear of losing their jobs.

At this time, Connecticut, Jersey City, N.J., New York City, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., have passed laws mandating employers to offer paid sick leave.

Updated October 2013.


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