Paid Sick Leave Making a Comeback?

You may recall that in the fall of 2008, supporters of a law called the “Ohio Healthy Families Act” collected the required signatures to place paid sick leave on the general election ballot.  At the urging of then-Governor Strickland, the Ohio law was withdrawn from the ballot and was never brought before the voters.  Although at the time we recognized this as a positive development for the business community in Ohio, we cautioned that the concept of paid sick leave would surface in the future.

Although there has been little discussion of the Ohio Healthy Families Act over the past couple of years, the Connecticut General Assembly recently passed a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick to employees.  This may foreshadow a trend developing across the country, and lead to a resurrection of the Ohio ballot initiative.

The Connecticut requirement applies to employers of 50 or more people, and only to those whose employees fall into the category of service workers.  Under this new bill, employers must provide employees with a minimum of one hour paid sick leave for every forty hours worked up to a maximum of forty hours.  Overtime hours are excluded from this calculation.  Employees become eligible to take leave after working 680 hours.  Eligible employees can take time off for their own illness, injury, or health conditions; for medical diagnosis, care of treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or for preventive medical care.  Eligible employees are also entitled to use leave for any of the above categories for their spouse or child.  In addition, eligible employees may take time off if they are a victim of family violence or sexual assault.

Some Connecticut employers will not need to change any existing policies.  Under the bill, employers  who offer any other paid leave that is at least equal to the benefit offered by the statute have satisfied the requirements for paid sick leave.  The bill allows employers to require advance notice of up to seven days, if the leave is foreseeable.  If not, employees must give the employer notice as soon as is practicable.  Employers retain the right to discipline employees for using sick leave for a non-permitted use.

At present, this bill appears to affect a narrow category of employers, and only those inConnecticut.  However, it may be an indicator of a new trend.  If you have a concern whether your current employee leave policies are in compliance with applicable state and federal regulations, the attorneys at Benesch are always available for consultation.

Connecticut’s governor has recently signed the bill into law. Please click here to learn more.

For more information, please contact Patrick Peters at ppeters@beneschlaw.com or (216) 363-4434.

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