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Connecticut Paid Sick Leave – Is Your State Next?

Connecticut recently became the first state in the nation to mandate sick leave. The law applies to service sector and government employers with 50 or more employees, and it will begin to apply on January 1, 2012. In order to be eligible for state mandated sick leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 680 hours, and worked, on average, at least 10 hours per week in the last calendar quarter. Eligible employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours of work. The leave can be used for the employees own illness or injury, or for the illness or injury of a child or spouse. Leaves of three or more days must be certified, and employers cannot retaliate against employees because of their use of the sick leave. If existing employer's leave policies allow for the same or more generous leave for the purposes specified under the act, then the employee is not entitled to additional sick leave.

It will be interesting to see how this legislation applies in practice, and the effect that it will have on service sector job growth in Connecticut. The real question is whether this law will spark a trend of paid sick leave requirements in progressive jurisdictions across the country or at the federal level.

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