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Connecticut Employer Alert: Changes to Paid Sick Leave Requirements Effective January 1, 2015

Written by Erin Horton

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed a new law that amends Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Statute. Connecticut was the first state to mandate paid sick leave policies for service workers back in January 2012. The new bill, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015, aims to streamline the 2012 law and places an important new restriction on employers.

First, the current Paid Sick Leave law provides that a non-manufacturing employer qualifies under the law if it employs 50 or more individuals in Connecticut during any single quarter in the previous calendar year. Dramatically simplifying this eligibility determination, the new law asks how many individuals did the employer employ on October 1st of the previous year according to payroll records. If it was 50 or more they must provide paid sick leave. This amendment makes the law consistent with the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act’s October 1 counting requirement.

Second, to curb abuse, the law bars employers from terminating, dismissing or transferring employees with the sole purpose of falling under the 50-employee threshold to avoid providing paid sick leave.

Third, the law now allows employers to coordinate paid sick leave accrual with accrual of other employee benefits. Under the current statute, employees accrue paid sick leave from calendar year to calendar year, always commencing on January 1. As of January 1, 2015 however, employers can peg the sick leave accrual calendar year to the same accrual period they use for other employee benefits.

Finally, the new law extends the Paid Sick Leave Statute’s reach to radiologic technologists, who previously fell outside of the law’s reach.

Connecticut employers hovering around the 50-employee threshold should be especially mindful of these changes. Any anticipated reductions in force or transfers should be carefully considered and documented to ensure there is no appearance of impropriety. This is especially critical where staffing changes are anticipated to occur on or before October 1st of this year.

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