Can Connecticut Residents Receive Paid Sick Leave For COVID-19?

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If you’ve been sick with COVID-19 and missed work you may be able to get paid for some of those days. But the guidance is tricky and not every employer offers paid time off for certain employees.

“You can use paid family and medical leave if you have a serious health condition of your own or if you are a caregiver for someone who has a serious health condition,” said Andrea Barton Reeves, head of the new Connecticut Paid Leave Authority.

Barton Reeves says it’s possible if you were hospitalized with COVID that you could receive paid sick leave.

Barton Reeves says they’ve fielded hundreds of calls on the topic.

“I’m so ill I don't understand how I can't be covered,” Barton Reeves says. 

“It can’t just be that you’re resting and told to take fluids and -- you know -- chicken soup. You have to be receiving some sort of prescription or other treatment from the provider,” said Erin Choquette, general counsel for the Paid Leave Authority. 

Choquette says you have to be receiving medical treatment for it to be considered a serious illness.

“Quarantine itself doesn’t count,” Choquette said. 

Many employers were able to provide sick time for COVID early in the pandemic.

“In 2020, between March and December, this was actually a federal program where employers were required to provide at least two weeks of paid sick leave,” said Diane Mokriski, of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

According to Mokriski, sick leave would be reimbursed as a tax credit.

In 2021, the program was voluntary for employers.

“All those laws have expired, so there’s no federal program for paid sick leave,” Mokriski said. 

But a lot of employers are providing leave these days.

“Employers really want to be able to provide paid sick leave. That only makes sense. They want their employees to go home, get better, not infect the rest of the workforce,” Mokriski said. 

Mokriski says a lot of employers are advancing sick days for their employees.

“I think the main idea is employers just have to be flexible,” she added.

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