Connecticut Employers – Get Ready for the 680th Hour or Violate the Law
If you’re a Connecticut employer subject to the new Paid Sick Leave Law, the time to begin doling out paid sick time is at hand. An eligible employee is entitled to begin using sick time after his or her 680th hour on the job since January 1, 2012. For many full-time employees, the 680th hour will occur around April 30, 2012. If you’ve been waiting until the proverbial 11th hour to learn about your responsibilities under the law, now is the time. Here are the CliffsNotes:
- You are subject to the law if you employed 50 or more total employees during any calendar quarter of last year. For example, if you employed 40 employees last January, laid off 10 in February, and hired 20 new employees in March, you are subject to the law. Also, if you employed 40 people, and 20 quit during the quarter and 10 more were hired, you are covered. Not covered this year? Next January 1, look back to 2012 and do the same analysis.
- Even if you are a covered employer, not all of your employees are entitled to sick leave. The law covers “service workers,” which includes food service, health care, and other workers who are paid hourly and are non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The statute provides a complete list. However, merely comparing your job title to the job title offered under the statute (or not) is not a sufficient investigation. You must check the actual job duties performed against the job duties described in the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ system, which the Connecticut statute uses to define the jobs it lists.
- Unlike usage, accrual began on January 1, 2012. Accrual occurs at a rate of one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of sick time per calendar year.
- An employee can use sick time after he or she has worked 680 hours for the employer since January 1, 2012. This is a one-time requirement. However, an employee is not entitled to use accrued paid sick leave if he or she did not work for you an average of 10 or more hours per week in the last calendar quarter.
- The employee can use paid sick leave for a child’s, a spouse’s, or his or her own mental or physical illness, injury, health condition, medical diagnosis, or preventative medical care. Sick time can also be used for a variety of circumstances related to family violence or sexual assaults, including family relocation or court appearances.
- An employer can require up to seven days advance notice, but only where the need to use leave is foreseeable. If it is not foreseeable, the employer may require notice as soon as practicable. An employer may not request documentation (such as a doctor’s note) unless the leave is used on three or more consecutive days. This provision effectively requires the employer to assume the employee is being truthful, but nothing prohibits the employer from disciplining or firing an employee for lying about the use of sick leave. But, be careful – the law prohibits retaliation against employees for using sick leave, so your justified discipline could put you under the microscope if it is misconstrued as retaliation for using leave.
- Employees are allowed to carry over up to 40 hours of unused accrued sick time until the following year, but the employee is not entitled to use more than 40 hours of sick time in a year.
- Covered employers must notify their service workers of certain rights contained in the Paid Sick Leave Law at the time of hiring. The most practical notification method is to place a poster in a conspicuous place accessible to service workers. If you choose this method, you must post both English and Spanish versions of the poster. This poster should have gone up by January 1, 2012!
If you would like more information on the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law, including the full-text of the statute, the poster in both English and Spanish, a guide to the law from the Connecticut Department of Labor, and our articles providing comprehensive analysis of the law, click here.
Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.965.0560.