Sen. Boucher: businesses are limping along- paid sick leave is a first of its kind in the nation mandate that would cripple them.

May 27, 2011

Hartford, CT – With the vote in the Senate this week, Connecticut is well on its way to having the dubious distinction of being the first state in the nation to mandate paid sick days for employees. The state already suffers from a negative business unfriendly reputation and this would only make matters worse.

Senator Boucher speaks out against the bill on the floor of the state Senate

“Connecticut should be the leader in helping business not hurting it,” said Senator Boucher.

Senate Bill 913, An Act Mandating Employers Provide Sick Leave to Employees, requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide paid sick leave to certain employees.

Under the bill, employees can use this paid time off for use for the employee’s sickness, the employee’s child’s, parent’s or spouse’s sickness, or to deal with sexual assault or family violence issues. There are exemptions for some non-profits, like the YMCA.

Most businesses already provide this benefit and those that do not, cannot afford them.

“This sends a mixed message to business,” remarked Senator Boucher. “Many business owners don’t dock their employees when they are sick and miss work. They simply are flexible and find other employees to fill in the shift. Now we are mandating that flexibility be taken away.”

Many of the small businesses in our state say they will be forced reduce other benefits such as vacation time or to lay people off in order to stay under the fifty employee threshold of the paid sick leave law.

Senator Boucher believes this bill will hit our restaurants, diners and bakers particularly hard as they are on razor thin margins and just small increase in cost could affect them disproportionately. This year when our small businesses are facing the largest tax increase in the states history and new higher sales tax to boot, it is the wrong time to enact this type of legislation.

Since the recession Connecticut has lost 100,000 jobs, our state has 9.1% unemployment higher than the national average and the lowest job growth in the country over the last twenty years. (*CT Dept. of Labor)

“Many small businesses are on the edge and their families have taken risks to stay open during this recession,” said Senator Boucher. “Now we are mandating a benefit that could cripple them.”

Senator Boucher offered to vote in favor of an amendment to get rid of the annual business entity tax of $250 to give small businesses some relief. The amendment failed.

The bill passed the Senate in a close vote, 18 in favor 17 against. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.