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Connecticut Lawmakers Expand Paid Sick Leave, With AARP’s Help

Son taking care of his father
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En español | More Connecticut workers will be able to take paid time off work to take their mom to a doctor's appointment or care for themselves or a sick family member under an AARP-backed bill state lawmakers approved last week. The benefits will apply to nearly every worker in the state by 2027.

Connecticut in 2011 became the first U.S. state to require private employers to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year. But the law only applied to companies with 50 or more employees, leaving out a large swath of Connecticut workers.

The new law, which Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign, extends the paid sick time requirement to companies with 25 or more employees starting Jan. 1, 2025; 11 or more employees in 2026; and one or more employees in 2027.

Thanks in large part to advocacy from AARP Connecticut, the law also expands the definition of a family member to include parents, grandparents, siblings, grandchildren or individuals whose “close association to the employee shows to be equivalent to those family relationships.” The 2011 law limited sick time to caring for oneself or a spouse or child who is ill.

The change brings the definition in line with the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave law, which AARP helped to pass in 2019, and “aligns with how we interact as family caregivers in today’s world,” said Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut state director.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our health care system, and they need the flexibility to use their time in a way that most efficiently and effectively supports their loved ones,” Duncan said.

More than 80 percent of Connecticut’s 420,000 unpaid family caregivers are caring for a relative or close nonrelative who is not their spouse or child, AARP told state lawmakers in written testimony this year. The expansion will especially benefit workers 50 and older, who are more likely to be caring for elderly parents.

AARP has long fought for laws and policies to better support family caregivers. In states around the country, we’ve successfully pressed for laws to help older workers balance their caregiving and work responsibilities, most recently in Maine, Minnesota and Illinois.

Read more about how AARP is fighting for family caregivers, and keep up with our advocacy work in Connecticut.

Natalie Missakian covers federal and state policy and writes AARP’s Fighting for You Every Day blog. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and daily newspapers in Ohio. She has also written for the AARP Bulletin, the Hartford Business Journal and other publications.

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