Report: CT sick leave policy has had little impact on businesses

Washington -- Concerns by the business community that Connecticut’s sick leave policy would be a “job killer,” driving employers out of the state, is a myth, according to authors of a study on the policy’s impact.

The success of Connecticut’s policy, the first in the nation, should prod the federal government to adopt it, say researchers at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The policy, established in 2011,  guarantees Connecticut workers five days of paid sick leave a year. The study by the center  determined that it has had a minimal effect on the state’s business because of the “carve out” in the law that exempts many workers, including those working in manufacturing, nonprofits or businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Another reason the law has had little impact is that many Connecticut companies already had paid sick leave policies. The center’s researchers surveyed 250 businesses in the state.

Ruth Milkman, academic director of CUNY’s Murphy Labor Institute and one of the authors of the report, said part-time workers have been most affected by Connecticut’s sick leave policy because many of them were not given leave time before the state implemented the law. Many of those part-time workers are employed in the retail and the hospitality industries.

Yet these industries have grown since the law was implemented, Milkman said, giving lie to concerns that the policy is “a job killer.”

“Our findings here determine that has not been the case,” Milkman said.

The center’s report also says few workers use the maximum five days of sick time allowed and that the average time taken from work is four days.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, who has been introducing sick leave legislation in Congress since 2004, said, “voluntary agreements [between workers and their employers] are no substitute for enforceable laws.”

“Being a working parent should not mean choosing between your job and taking care of yourself and your family,” DeLauro said.

About Ana Radelat

Ana is a longtime Washington correspondent who has won numerous awards, including from The Associated Press and Gannett, has written for more than a dozen newspapers, including USAToday; The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger; the Shreveport (La.) Times; and the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser. She’s also been a regular contributor to other publications, including the Miami Herald and Advertising Age. Some of the stories Ana has broken focused on the strategies of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Sen. Trent Lott’s fall from power and questionable Hurricane Katrina contracts. A regular contributor to WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio, a partner of The Mirror, Ana is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism. E-mail her at aradelat@ctmirror.org.

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