State legislators approved a bill Saturday that requires employers to provide paid sick leave for its employees, making Connecticut the first state in the nation to do so. Governor Dannell Malloy is set to sign the bill that allows employees to earn up to five paid sick days per year. San Francisco and the District of Columbia already require employers to give paid sick days to all workers, and similar measures are pending in Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, and New York City.
More than 40 million workers in the U.S. – 80% of low-wage workers – do not receive any paid sick days. Organizations such as the National Partnership for Women and Families, Working Families Organization, and Everybody Benefits Coalition worked to promote the bill and are calling it a landmark victory for workers’ rights. The bill was denounced by business interests, along with Republicans and about a dozen fiscally conservative Democrats.
The Connecticut bill only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees, exempting certain kinds of employers, and only covers service workers that receive an hourly wage. It requires employees to earn sick days, one hour of sick time for each 40 hours worked.
Last month, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) reintroduced a bill in Congress called the Healthy Families Act, which would require seven days of paid sick times on a national level. The United States is one of the only industrialized nations in the world without mandated paid sick time for workers.