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March 4, 2021 Labor and Public Employees Cmte, HB 6537

Public Hearing Testimony of
Kurt Westby, Commissioner
Department of Labor
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 4, 2021

Good Morning Senator Kushner, Representative Porter, Senator Sampson, Representative Arora and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding House Bill No. 6537, AN ACT CONCERNING EXPANSION OF PAID SICK DAYS AND DOMESTIC WORKER COVERAGE. My name is Kurt Westby and I am the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor (CT DOL).

The CT DOL supports the intent of the proposed bill.  In 2011, Connecticut became the first state to require private sector employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  Since that time many other states have passed paid sick leave laws that are far more expansive than CT.  The proposed bill would update Connecticut’s law to align with policies passed in those other states, including neighboring states.

Currently, the law covers only a limited number of CT workers. Specifically, the law covers employers with 50 or more employees in Connecticut and those listed as service workers in the law, which is a list of 69 job classifications.  This leaves thousands of vulnerable workers without any paid time off at all.  The proposed bill seeks to close these gaps by covering all employers and repealing the service worker limitation.  It further expands the family members for whom the employees can use the sick leave, mirroring that of the new Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.   However, the proposed bill covers the need for paid time off in cases that would not be covered by the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, such as routine medical appointments and minor illnesses such as colds and flus.  As a result, there is a gap between the two laws currently that would leave many workers without protection. 

If passed, this bill will have a significant fiscal impact on CTDOL. This expansion of the current law would require the Agency to hire additional staff in our Wage and Workplace Standards Division as well as our Legal Division to accommodate the increased inquiries and complaints that would result.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony. I am available to answer any questions you may have.


Connecticut Department of Labor
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer