On July 1, Connecticut became the first state in the country to require that companies provide hourly workers with paid sick leave.
The bill, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012, requires employers with 50 or more hourly workers grant those employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Sick days will be capped at five sick days, or 40 hours, a year.
The bill exempts manufacturing companies, temporary workers, day laborers, and independent contractors.
Sick days can be taken for: a service workers’ illness, injury, or health condition; the medical diagnosis of a child or spouse’s illness or medical condition; or when the worker is the victim of family violence of sexual assault.
The bill also bans employers from taking retaliatory or discriminatory action against an employee if the employee requests or uses paid sick leave.
In a statement, Conn. Governor Dannel Malloy called the bill “good public policy and specifically, good public health.”
“Why would you want to eat food from a sick restaurant cook?” he asked. “Or have your children taken care of by a sick day care worker? The simple answer is—you wouldn’t. And now, you won’t have to.”
Similar requirements already exist in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to Reuters. A number of other states are currently considering them.