Commerce Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5269

Title:

AN ACT CREATING PARITY BETWEEN PAID SICK LEAVE BENEFITS AND OTHER EMPLOYER-PROVIDED BENEFITS.

Vote Date:

3/11/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/27/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Commerce Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Under current law, an employer must provide paid sick leave based on the type of business the employer conducts and the number of people it employs in any quarter of the previous year. For people entitled by law to paid sick leave, the bill changes the timeframe for accruing sick leave. It also changes the timeframe and the business classification used to determine which businesses must offer sick leave.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Andy Markowski, CT State Director, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): Supports HB 5269 as “a common sense approach to clarify and simplify the administration of and compliance with CT's existing mandated paid state leave law.” Consistency and parity in state laws and employer's duties is crucial for small businesses.

Eric Gjede, Assistant Council, Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA): Supports HB 5286. After passage in 2011, ambiguities and cumbersome inflexibilities emerged. This bill provides flexibility and reduces administrative burdens but “would not take away the benefit from a single person currently entitled to it under the law.”

Middlesex Chamber of Commerce: Supports the goals of HB 5269: “1) clarify that all manufacturers are exempt from the paid sick leave law, 2) allow employers to administer PSL on the same annual basis as other benefits and 3) allow employers to determine their number of employees in the same manner as for the purposes of the state's Family and Medical Leave Act.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Permanent Commission on the Status of Women: The current law particularly helps women, who provide the vast majority of care for sick children. PCSW opposes HB 5269 as it would cut out all workers in the manufacturing industry, and incentivize businesses “to become a “small employers for a week” and evade the law” by changing the threshold for sick leave from businesses “employing 50 people in CT during any quarter of the last year to a single specific week in October.”

Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families: Opposes HB 5269. Connecticut's groundbreaking statewide law guaranteed 287,000 private sector workers the right to earn paid sick days. As in cities that previously passed paid sick days standards, employment in the covered industries has actually grown and the law has proven very popular, even with most employers.

Ellen Bravo, Executive Director, Family Values @ Work Consortium: Opposes HB 5269 due to the changes in the reporting period and expansion of the manufacturing loophole, which would carve out currently covered service employees at manufacturing firms. Paid sick leave has been a success in CT, and has subsequently been adopted, often in stronger form, by several cities.

Claudia Williams, Institute for Women's Policy Research: Opposes HB 5269. “Access to paid sick leave promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illnesses, increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance.” By exempting manufacturers entirely, the bill would result in workers in clerical or service functions in one industry being treated differently than similar workers in another.

Connecticut Working Families Organization: Opposes HB 5269 as a step back from a successful policy which has since been adopted by Seattle, Portland OR, NYC and others, all with a lower threshold for coverage. If anything, CT should also lower the threshold, close the franchise loophole, eliminate the job classification standard and protect employees who have not hit 680 hours from being fired for calling out sick..

Briana Fernandez: Opposes HB 5269 and believes the law should be strengthened. Despite the existing law she could be and “was unceremoniously fired from my job with no legal protections or opportunity for dispute” for falling ill because her employer fell under the current threshold of fifty employees.

Devon Johnson: A former employee at a franchise exempt from PSL because it falls under the 50 employee threshold, opposes HB 5269 and urges expanding PSL protection.

Kevin Burgos: Opposes HB 5269. He supports three kids by working at Dunkin Donuts, and now has PSL, allowing him paid time and job security if he or his children are sick.

Patricia Gaskin, President, CSEA SEIU Local 2001 School Bus Council: Opposes HB 5269. Current PSL laws protect both staff and children by allowing drivers and monitors to recuperate rather than work sick and spread germs in the close quarters of a school bus.

Reported by: Zalman Nakhimovsky, Asst. Clerk

Date: 03/13/2014