In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the CDC has recommended that everyone take steps to protect themselves and their communities, including avoiding close contact with others. If you have to take time off work sick, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed or your work is closed, can you stay home with your children?
Find out more about your right to paid sick time in Connecticut below. Please note that you may also have an additional right to emergency paid leave for COVID-19 purposes under federal law, as described in more detail here.
1) What does the Connecticut Paid Sick Time law do?
It gives workers up to 40 hours of sick time a year, which can be used to recover from physical/mental illness or injury; to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to care for a child or spouse who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; or to address needs that may arise if the worker is a victim of family violence or sexual assault.
2) Am I covered?
If you work as an employee in certain service occupations (such as registered nurses, food preparation workers, retail workers, etc.) in Connecticut for an employer with 50 or more workers, you may be covered. However, the law does not cover employees of employers with fewer than 50 employees, federal employees, certain employees of manufacturers and non-profit organizations, and temporary and day laborers.
3) How much paid sick time can I earn?
You earn 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
All covered employees are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting their sick time (including threats, discipline, demotion, reduction in hours, termination, etc.).
4) What if my work or my child’s school or daycare is closed for a health emergency?
You cannot use your sick time because your work or your child’s school or day care is closed unless you would otherwise be able to use your sick time (for example, if you are sick or caring for a sick family member).
5) Which of my family members are covered by the law?
Under the law, you can take sick time to care for yourself or a child or spouse.
6) What if I already have paid leave or paid time off?
If you already get any paid leave (vacation, paid time off, etc.) that you can use as sick time and it’s at least the same amount you would earn under this law, the law does not give you any additional paid time off.
7) When can I begin using my sick time?
You start earning sick time immediately but cannot use it until after your 680th hour of employment.
8) Do I need a doctor’s note?
Only after 3 or more consecutive days of absence (and the note does not have to specify your illness).
All covered workers are protected against being fired or punishedfor using or requesting sick or safe time. If you have a problem—or want more information—call A Better Balance’s free legal clinic at 1-833-NEED-ABB.
The Connecticut Department of Labor is in charge of enforcing this law.
Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the paid sick time law described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.