“January 1, 2012 will be a historic day as Connecticut becomes the first state to guarantee its workers the right to earn paid sick time,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which has led efforts to enact family friendly policies in the United States for decades.
“Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut workers and their families will benefit directly from job-protected, earned paid sick days, and Connecticut’s experience will add to the growing body of evidence that paid sick days are good for businesses and economies as well,” Ness continued. “We are confident that Connecticut will pave the way for many more workers to win modest, common-sense paid sick days guarantees.”
Governor Dannel Malloy signed the measure into law in July after both houses of the state legislature passed the bill, despite well-funded efforts by the business lobby to defeat it. The new law means that fewer workers in the state will have to make impossible choices between their health and their economic security when illness strikes or medical needs arise, Ness said, adding that “with Connecticut blazing a trail, America is now a more family friendly nation.”
In addition to Connecticut, San Francisco, the District of Columbia and Seattle have paid sick days laws in place and measures are now under consideration in other states and cities as well. Studies show that San Francisco’s law, the first enacted, is working well for businesses as well as workers. But more than 40 million workers in the United States cannot earn a single paid sick day, and low-wage, women and Latino workers are disproportionately affected.
A poll conducted by Hart Research Associates last summer after the legislature passed the paid sick days law found that Connecticut voters look favorably on lawmakers who supported it. An overwhelming majority of state voters identify paid sick days as central to families’ economic security and are poised to reward legislators who voted for the law, the poll found. “We encourage Connecticut’s Department of Labor to educate workers and businesses about the new law, and vigorously enforce it,” Ness added. “Paid sick days are a win for everyone.”