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.