The restaurant industry in Connecticut has not been immune to the economic crisis that has faced our state; we have seen some very challenging days. People were saving wherever they could, and that meant spending less on eating out, which created a tough climate for our restaurants. But most have survived and are looking forward to better days.
Now we are presented with yet another threat.
The Connecticut General Assembly has again proposed mandatory paid sick leave for all businesses with 50 or more employees, including part-time employees. Mandating Connecticut employers to provide paid sick leave to full and part time employees is an extremely costly measure that will result in fewer jobs and even less job growth in an already struggling economy.
Even in better economic times, not all businesses can afford the expense of paying employees who do not come to work. This is not indicative of the business owner’s lack of concern for his or her employees, but rather the reality of owning a small business.
There is a long-standing practice in place within the restaurant industry that offers restaurant employees the needed flexibility when they must be out of work. They have the ability to switch shifts with other employees, thereby making up the missed hours. This approach works and meets the needs of both the workplace and the employees.
If the mandatory paid sick leave bill becomes law, restaurants will be forced to double-pay for a shift when someone calls in sick. Employers will have to pay that worker for the day off, as well as pay his or her replacement to cover that shift. It is a cost that is simply unaffordable.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association has and will continue to strongly oppose this measure. Connecticut’s restaurant industry cannot be burdened with this expensive, onerous and unnecessary mandate. The decision to offer any benefits package to employees should remain that of the business owner, not the State of Connecticut.
If the State of Connecticut truly wants to be open for business, this measure takes us in the absolute wrong direction.