Connecticut to Make All Private Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave by 2027

On May 21, 2024, Governor Lamont signed into law new legislation that significantly expands Connecticut’s existing paid sick leave law by requiring that virtually all private employers in the state provide employees with paid sick leave no later than January 1, 2027.  

Mandates Coverage by Almost All Private-Sector Employers

Under the existing paid sick leave law, employers that employ 50 or more individuals in Connecticut must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave annually to defined “service workers.” The new legislation significantly expands the reach of the law to impose the mandate on nearly every private-sector employer. The new requirements will be phased in over three years based on size of the workforce in Connecticut:

  • Beginning January 1, 2025, the law will apply to employers with 25 or more employees;
  • Beginning January 1, 2026, the law will apply to employers with 11 or more employees; and
  • Beginning January 1, 2027, the law will apply to employers with at least one employee.

Expands Definition of Covered Employee

Currently, paid sick leave is limited to employees meeting the definition of “service worker,” which excludes per diem and temporary workers. Under the new legislation, all private-sector employees will be eligible to receive paid sick leave, including per diem or temporary workers, except for seasonal and certain unionized construction workers.1

Broadens Employee Eligibility to Take Paid Sick Leave

Under the existing paid sick leave law, covered workers can use paid sick leave for any of these qualifying reasons:

  • The employee’s illness, injury or health condition or that of the employee’s child or spouse;
  • To obtain professional medical diagnosis, care or treatment for the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or that of the employee’s child or spouse;
  • To obtain preventative care for the employee or the employee’s spouse or child;
  • A mental health wellness day for the employee, meaning a day during which the employee attends to their emotional and psychological well-being instead of working their regularly scheduled shift;
  • If the employee is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, or the parent or guardian of a child who is a victim of family violence or sexual assault and needs time off for certain qualifying purposes such as obtaining services from a victim services organization or participating in a related civil or criminal proceed.

The new legislation continues these provisions, while also adding the following permissible reasons for taking leave: 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.  These new provisions were  likely added to address lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new sick leave legislation also significantly expands the definition of “family member,” which currently includes the employee’s spouse or minor child. Under the new law, employees can now use paid sick leave for qualifying reasons involving their child (including adult children), spouse (including registered domestic partners), parents (including stepparents and parent-in-laws), grandparents, siblings, and anyone related to the employee by blood or a close association to the employee that makes them akin to family.2

The new legislation eliminates the current requirement that an employee complete 680 hours of employment in order to be eligible to use paid sick leave and allows employees to begin using their paid sick leave on the 120th calendar day of employment.

Accelerates the Accrual Rate

Under the new measure, eligible employees will accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, instead of the current accrual of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked. Employers that already offer other paid leave, including vacation, personal days or PTO, under the same or better terms and conditions will be deemed to be in compliance with the new requirements.

Limitations on Required Documentation

Under current law, employers can request reasonable documentation if the employee uses paid sick leave for three or more consecutive workdays. By contrast, the new legislation prohibits employers from requiring any documentation that the employee took paid sick leave for a qualifying reason.  

Additional Notice Requirements

Covered employers must continue displaying posters regarding paid sick leave.3 They will also be required to provide written notice to employees of their paid sick leave rights no later than January 1, 2025, or at the time of hire, whichever is later.

What Now?

Connecticut employers that previously were exempt from the law should note the date when they must begin providing paid sick leave to their employees.  If necessary, employers should also revise leave policies and practices, educate employees on the paid sick leave law, and provide and post any relevant notices. Employers that already provide employees with paid sick leave should review policies and practices to ensure they comply with all of the elements of the new law, including but not limited to its accrual rate and its restriction on obtaining documentation of the reason for the leave.

Littler will continue to monitor the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website for future guidance or regulations and report on any significant developments.

See Footnotes

1 "Employee" does not include individuals who are covered by multi-employer health plans requiring contributions from multiple employers and maintained under a collective bargaining agreement with a union representing construction-related tradespersons. See Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-57r(2).

2 This expanded definition mirrors the definition of “family member” under Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51kk(6).

3 The CT DOL will prepare an updated poster.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.