Mandatory Paid Time Off: Anti Business

March 4, 2011

“Individual businesses should have the freedom to formulate their own benefit plans,” said Senator Toni Boucher

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher testified on March 1, 2011 against SB 913 An Act Concerning Paid Sick Leave.

“Right now, in Connecticut we have a responsibility to the labor and job market. It is the number one priority for the state,” said Senator Boucher. “But by passing this bill, Connecticut would not be improving its reputation as a state favorable to business.”

Members of the Labor Committee stated during the public hearing on Tuesday that their concern is to keep jobs in Connecticut. Senator Boucher shares that concern especially in this difficult economic downturn.

Passing this bill would require one hour of paid leave for every 40 hour week worked and caps sick days to five per calendar year. If the bill passes, a small business of 50 employees could face an added annual personnel cost of up to $20,000 per employee. (Based on an employee wage of $10 per hour).

This proposal also includes part time workers. The proposal states “Employee” means any person, who has worked a minimum of 520 hours for the employer within the past 12 months.

This would be another new costly mandate in addition to new business taxes being proposed this year. An even larger problem with the bill according to Boucher is it is unfair to non profit employers who have seasonal workers.

“Having worked in several small businesses myself, I know businesses want to keep good employees and rarely dock their pay for illness. We as a state however, should not mandate what businesses should do. Rather, each business should be able to develop benefits based on what they can afford, what works best for their employees and what competitive market forces demand, in order to attract and keep qualified employees,” said Senator Boucher.

Senator Boucher understands many of the YMCA’s in her district have part time seasonal staff. If the state were to require employers to offer additional benefits it will be expensive, and an administrative nightmare. Many of the non-profits could also fail audits if they do not reserve funds to pay for accumulated sick leave.

Senator Boucher believes with unemployment at 9% this is not the time to squeeze employers even more.

“Many in Connecticut are worried that as a state we are not friendly to business, and according to a CNBC ‘Cost of Doing Business Report’(2010), Connecticut is not friendly and in fact is ranked 47th near the bottom of the list. If this bill is passed, Connecticut would be the first state to authorize paid sick leave and would make us less competitive with those in other states. This is not the time for our state to set this precedence,” said Senator Boucher.