Paid Sick Leave Handbook Statement: Connecticut

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, and Judith A. Paulson, Littler

When to Include This Statement

Connecticut employers that have 50 or more full-time and/or part-time employees working in Connecticut and that employ "service workers" as defined in the paid sick leave law should include this statement in their handbook.

"Service workers" include specified hourly (nonexempt) employees whose primary job duties track those of the 68 federal Standard Occupational Classification System titles listed in the law (e.g., food service managers, dental assistants, fast food workers, medical assistants, waiters, child care workers, data entry and information processing workers and retail salespersons).

The 50-employee threshold is determined annually based on the number of employees on the payroll as of October 1.

Certain manufacturers (business establishments classified in sector 31, 32 or 33 in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) (http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics) or nationally chartered 501(c)(3) organizations that provide recreation, child care and educational services are exempt from providing paid sick leave. The manufacturer exemption extends to all forms of manufacturing, including food, textiles, wood, petroleum, chemical, plastics, metal, machinery, motor vehicles, aerospace, computer, electronic and miscellaneous products.

The manufacturing exclusion may only extend to sites where the manufacturing operations are conducted - not at all sites - such as those that function as a warehouse or research and development site. Employers should assess each establishment separately to determine if its primary business activity falls within sector 31, 32 or 33 of the NAICS.

Customizable Handbook Statement

Paid Sick Leave

The Company provides eligible employees with paid sick leave in accordance with Connecticut's paid sick leave law. The guidelines set forth in this policy do not supersede applicable federal, state or local law regarding leaves of absence, including leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) or any other applicable federal, state or local law, including those prohibiting discrimination and harassment.

Eligibility

Hourly, nonexempt regular full-time and part-time service workers who work in Connecticut are eligible to accrue paid sick leave. [OPTIONAL: Temporary or day workers (defined as those who perform work on a per diem basis or an occasional or irregular basis, for only the time required to complete such work, whether they are paid by the person for whom such work is performed by or a temporary help service or employment agency) are not eligible for paid sick leave.]

[OPTIONAL: The Company may allow, but will not require, employees to work additional hours during the same or the following pay period in lieu of using accrued paid sick time. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Employees who wish to work additional hours in lieu of using accrued paid sick time should consult with their supervisor, Human Resources [or insert name/contact details for appropriate company representative or department].

Reasons Paid Sick Leave May Be Used

Employees may use accrued paid sick leave for absences resulting from any of the following:

  • The employee's or eligible family member's illness, injury or health condition;
  • To obtain professional medical diagnosis, care or treatment for the employee's or eligible family member's mental or physical illness, injury or health condition;
  • To obtain preventative care for the employee or eligible family member;
  • If the employee is a victim of family violence or sexual assault and needs time off for the purpose of:
    • Medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability;
    • To obtain services from a victim services organization;
    • To relocate due to such family violence or sexual assault; or
    • To participate in any civil or criminal proceedings related to or resulting from such family violence or sexual assault.

Eligible family members include the employee's spouse (including a same-sex spouse or out-of-state civil union or domestic partner) and child(ren).

Accrual of Leave

Leave is accrued at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked up to a maximum accrual of 40 hours per [insert the 365-day period used to calculate employee benefits, such as calendar year, employee anniversary or fiscal year] year. Hours worked refers to actual hours worked and does not include sick, vacation or other leave time.

Employees accrue paid sick leave beginning on January 1, 2012 or the employee's date of hire, whichever is later.

Employees may use paid sick leave after the 680th hour of employment with the Company. Employees must have averaged 10 or more work hours per week in the previous calendar quarter in order to use accrued paid sick leave.

Employees may use a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave in any [insert the 365-day period used to calculate employee benefits, such as calendar year, employee anniversary or fiscal year] year.

[OPTIONAL: Employees may donate unused accrued paid sick leave to another eligible employee.]

Increments

Paid sick leave must be used in increments of one hour or more.

Requesting Leave and Documentation

Employees must provide seven days' notice before taking leave if the need for paid sick leave is foreseeable. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable.

[OPTIONAL: The Company requires employees who are out on leave for three or more consecutive work days and seeking compensation to provide reasonable documentation verifying that the leave is being taken for a reason permitted under this policy. Such documentation may include:

  • For leaves related to mental or physical illness, treatment of an illness and preventative care, a signed document by a health care provider indicating the need for leave and the number of days needed; or
  • For leaves relating to family violence, a court record or documentation signed by the employee or volunteer working for a victim services organization, an attorney, police officer or other counselor involved with the employee.]

Employees are prohibited from using paid sick leave for improper purposes.

Carry Over

Employees may carry over up to 40 unused accrued hours of paid sick leave from one year to the next, but can only use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in any one year.

Effect on Other Rights and Policies

The Company may provide other forms of leave for employees to care for medical conditions under certain federal, state and municipal laws. In certain situations, leave under this policy may run at the same time as leave available under another federal or state law, provided eligibility requirements for that law are met. The Company is committed to complying with all applicable laws. Employees should contact their Human Resources representative [or insert name/contact details for appropriate company representative or department] for information about other federal, state and municipal medical or family leave rights.

Termination

Compensation for accrued and unused paid sick leave is not provided upon separation of employment for any reason.

Retaliation

The Company will not retaliate or discriminate against employees who request or use paid sick leave for authorized circumstances or for making a complaint about suspected violations of this policy.

Guidance for Employers

  • Employers with 50 or more full-time and/or part-time employees working in Connecticut are covered employers and must provide paid sick leave to eligible service workers. The 50-employee threshold is determined annually based on the number of employees on the payroll as of October 1.
  • "Service workers" include specified hourly (nonexempt) employees whose primary job duties track those of the 68 federal Standard Occupational Classification System titles listed in the law (e.g., food service managers, dental assistants, fast food workers, medical assistants, radiologic technologists, waiters, child care workers, data entry and information processing workers and retail salespersons).
  • Review the law (http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/SickLeave.htm) and the broad and detailed occupations and descriptions provided on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website (http://www.bls.gov/soc/) to determine if an employee's primary job duties (as opposed to a specific job title) fall within the job classifications listed in the law.
  • Carefully review the facts of each employee's case (e.g., what is the service worker's assignment, length of the assignment, duties; can the employee accept or refuse work at-will; etc.) before determining whether an employee is ineligible for leave.
  • This Connecticut paid sick leave policy may require significant customization to meet a particular employer's needs and/or to integrate with existing paid time off policies. For example, employers that provide paid leave that meets or exceeds Connecticut's paid sick leave law do not need to provide additional paid sick time. However, it is important to ensure that the employer addresses any discrepancy or shortfall with regard to the law's requirements, such as covered employees, rates of accrual, permissible reasons for use, recordkeeping obligations, notice requirements and carryover. Work with legal counsel to integrate existing paid leave benefits with required paid sick time.
  • Another important area for customization is determining whether it is permissible and/or advisable to adopt a "frontloading" policy under which employees receive a year's entitlement of paid sick time on the first day of the calendar year, or an accrual method, by which employees accrue paid sick time as they work. The sample policy statement provided assumes an accrual method. However, employers in some paid sick leave jurisdictions may adopt the frontloading approach. This is yet another area of policy customization that should be addressed with legal counsel.
  • Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. However, an employee cannot use more than 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. An employer cannot require service workers to take a cash-out of accrued but unused hours. However, employers may offer the option of pay out in lieu of hours being carried over, if voluntary.
  • In lieu of paid sick leave, employers may offer other forms of paid time off, such as vacation or personal days, as long as the service workers can use this time for the same reasons as stated under the paid sick leave law and as long as the leave accrues at a rate equal to or greater than the accrual rate in the law. In such cases, employers should carefully review their other paid leave policies to ensure they comply with the requirements of the paid sick leave law (e.g., do not exclude part-time service workers or do not impose greater documentation requirements).
  • Under the Connecticut paid sick leave law, it is not unlawful for an employer to establish a policy whereby a service worker may donate unused accrued paid sick leave to another service worker,
  • The 40 hours of sick leave must be paid at a rate equal to the employee's normal hourly rate or Connecticut minimum wage if higher. If the service worker's hourly wage varies based on his or her duties, the normal hourly wage is the average hourly wage paid to the employee in the pay period prior to the leave.
  • Service workers paid below minimum wage (e.g. tipped employees) must be paid the minimum wage for leave hours.
  • Overtime and commissions are not included when determining a normal hourly wage.
  • Unless an employer policy or collective bargaining agreement provides for payment of accrued and unused sick leave at termination, none is required.
  • Provide employees, at the time of hire, written notice of the following:
    • The entitlement to sick leave;
    • The amount of sick leave provided;
    • The terms under which sick leave may be used;
    • That retaliation for requesting or using sick leave is not allowed; and
    • Information about the service worker's right to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner for any violation.
  • Download the Paid Sick Leave poster and post in a conspicuous place, accessible to workers, to satisfy the notice requirement.
  • The Connecticut paid sick leave law provides that employers can deny leave to workers who could have complied with required notice provisions but failed to do so.
  • Employers may require "reasonable documentation" for leaves lasting three or more consecutive work days. The absences do not have to be full days, and can consist of any time taken off work during the day.
    • For leaves related to mental or physical illness, treatment of an illness, injury, or health condition and preventative medical care, employers can require documentation signed by a health care provider treating the worker or his or her child or spouse. Such documentation should indicate the need for the leave and the number days needed.
    • For leaves related to family violence or sexual assault: employers can request a court record, or documentation signed by the service worker or a volunteer working for a victim services organization, an attorney, a police offer, or other counselor involved with the service worker.
  • Supervisors should be trained regarding how to respond to requests for leave so that they do not take any adverse actions (e.g., termination, demotion) against employees who are eligible for leave and who request or take leave.

Additional Resources

Paid Sick Leave by State and Municipality