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Gibbons Knocks Paid Sick Leave

State Rep. Lile Gibbons serves the 150th District in Greenwich.

Early last week, the Senate debated and passed the “Paid Sick Leave” bill by a vote of 19-17. Friday night or, more accurately, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, after 11 hours of debate, the House passed the bill by the slimmest of margins (76-65). The governor will sign the legislation this week.

This bill mandates that every Connecticut employer with 50 employees or more must provide one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours of work, up to a maximum of five full sick days annually.

I did not vote for the bill. My concern is as much one of perception as of substance. It adds to the growing body of anti-business legislation enacted this year.

The nation’s unemployment rate is over 9%. In Connecticut, we have had over 9% unemployment for more than a year, the highest in our state’s history. Connecticut has lost 100,000 jobs during this recession and employers aren’t hiring because they are nervous about tax increases, labor regulations and health care—nationally and statewide. “Paid Sick Leave” touches on all three.

Most employers have a method in place to give sick employees time off from work without a dock in pay. They allow employees to pool sick days or to swap shifts within a division in a manner that works best for all stakeholders. Why are we piling on one-size fits all legislation?

What happened to the governor’s statement of three months ago: “Connecticut is open for business”? “Paid Sick Leave” adds another layer of uncertainty to employers’ decisions to hire. It stifles investment and economic development. There is a better way to open our doors for business.

Lile Gibbons  State Representative  150th District

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