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Shaban: Taxpayers Have New Reason to Feel Sick

The following is a letter to the editor sent by State Rep. John Shaban.

The start of the New Year brings with it a new state law that requires employers with more than 50 people on the payroll to provide paid sick leave to their employees in accordance with a government-imposed formula. This makes Connecticut the only state in the nation to interfere with what has traditionally been left to the private contract between employers and employees.

Even worse, it now appears that the new Sick Leave law will also interfere with municipal contracts, as well as public and private agreements. 

When the Democratic authors of the law wrote the definition of “employer,” they used broad enough language to give the law reach beyond private businesses and corporations. Sadly, the bill passed on a party line vote on June 4, 2011 and was quickly signed into law by our Governor.

Thus, not only will businesses and municipalities be forced to pay for employees’ time out of work pursuant to a cryptic, bureaucratic formula, they will also have to pay for the administrative costs associated with the nation’s only Paid Sick Leave law – e.g., monitoring, reporting and compliance expenses and changing payroll software.

The inclusion of municipalities and schools in this new unfunded mandate could have far-reaching implications for our towns. Unlike cash-strapped private businesses that can close (and are closing) their doors as Connecticut’s taxes and private mandates add up, municipalities must forge ahead and find ways to sustain these new expenses through higher taxes and/or service cuts.

Such property tax increases will come in conjunction with Governor Malloy’s retroactive income tax increase, and the reduction to the middle class property tax credit. Thus, at a time when our towns are trying to restore funds to schools and services, the new paid sick leave mandate is yet another unwelcome burden from Hartford.   

Leon Karvelis January 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM
The new sick leave law represents a rational approach to the serious problem of low paid service workers being forced to work when ill and infecting their co-workers and those they serve, such as our children and the elderly. In fact, by facilitating paid time off to recuperate for such people employers will avoid having other workers infected. Even more important, nursing home seniors will not be exposed to deadly viruses, and cafeteria and restaurant workers will ot infect us and our kids. Shaban's disingenuous comments about this law fly in the face of school worker collective bargaining agreements which provide much more generous sick leave provisions, including sick day accumulation not provided in the law. Legislatures in Pennsylvania and Washington are considering similar provisions or the same enlightened reasons. As for retroactive tax increases in Connecticut, we wouldn't have needed them if Rowland and Rell hadn't kicked the fiscal can down the road for many years with outrageous back-end loaded twenty year labor agreements, dumb capital spending for things like Adriean's Landing in Hartford and fiscal gimmickry. Governor Malloy had no choice.

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