Last week, Connecticut passed a law requiring private employers to give paid sick days to service employees. Currently, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. mandate paid sick leave; a handful of other states are considering similar legislation. But Connecticut is the first to impose this requirement statewide. The New York Times reports that the new law will cover an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 employees in the state.

Here are some details about the law, Connecticut Public Act 52:

  • It applies only to companies with at least 50 employees. Manufacturers aren’t subject to the law, nor are nationally chartered nonprofits that provide recreation, child care, and education services. Employers that already provide employees with at least 40 hours of paid time off each year that can be used as sick leave (such as sick days, personal days, or vacation time) don’t have to provide any additional time off under the law.
  • Only service workers are covered. This includes those employed in the retail, hospitality, food preparation and service, administrative, health care, janitorial and cleaning, claims processing, and a number of other industries. (You can find the full list of covered job categories in the law, at the link above.) Independent contractors, day laborers, and temporary workers aren’t covered.
  • Services workers are covered only if they are entitled to earn minimum wage and overtime. In other words, exempt employees aren’t covered by the law; only nonexempt employees are protected.
  • Covered employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum entitlement of 40 hours per year. Employees may also carry over up to 40 hours into the next year.
  • Employees may use the time off for their own illness, injury, or health condition; for a spouse’s or child’s illness, injury, or health condition; or to handle certain medical, legal, and practical issues stemming from family violence or sexual assault.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.