On May 21, 2024, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law new legislation that significantly expands Connecticut’s paid sick leave law to apply to nearly all private employers in the state over the next three years. The law provides for eligible employees to accrue paid sick time beginning upon hire at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year, which they can then utilize after their 120th calendar day of employment.

Under the state’s existing paid sick leave law, originally passed in 2012, private-sector employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide paid sick time to all “service workers.” The new legislation, however, applies to all private-sector employees with the exception of seasonal employees and certain unionized construction workers, and will be phased in based on the size of an employer’s workforce as follows: effective January 1, 2025, for employers with 25 or more employees; effective January 1, 2026, for employers with 11 or more employees; and effective January 1, 2027, for employers with one or more employees.

Under the new law, covered workers may use paid sick leave for any of the following qualifying reasons:

  • The employee’s illness, injury or health condition, or that of the employee’s family member, whose definition includes a child (both minor and adult), spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling and anyone related to the employee by blood or close association that makes them akin to family;
  • The medical diagnosis, care or treatment of the employee or the employee’s family member;
  • Preventive medical care for the employee or the employee’s family member;
  • A mental health wellness day for the employee;
  • Certain purposes when an employee or the employee’s family member is a victim of family violence or sexual assault;
  • Closure of the employer’s place of business or a family member’s school or place of care due to a public health emergency; or
  • A determination that the employee or the employee’s family member poses a risk to the health of others due to a communicable disease.

Significantly, however, the law prohibits employers from requiring any documentation that the employee took the paid sick leave for a qualifying reason.

Employers that already offer other paid leave, including vacation, personal days or PTO, under the same or better terms than the legislation will be deemed to be in compliance with the new law. Otherwise, employers that were previously exempt from the law should note the date when they must begin providing paid sick leave and should review their policies to ensure that they comply with all elements of the new law.

The attorneys in Murtha Cullina’s Labor & Employment practice will continue to follow and report on any significant developments regarding this legislation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Emily McDonough Souza at esouza@murthalaw.com or at 203.772.7711.