With a new Governor installed and a new legislature in session, many Connecticut employers are asking what to expect next.
While it’s still very early in the cycle, at least two pieces of labor and employment legislation seem almost certain to be enacted.
Minimum Wage / Possible Bill – H.B. No. 5639: AN ACT RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE IN CONNECTICUT.
Here are the details of that bill: “That the general statutes be amended to: (1) Raise the minimum wage from ten dollars and ten cents per hour to eleven dollars per hour on July 1, 2019; (2) raise the minimum wage from eleven dollars per hour to twelve dollars per hour on January 1, 2020; (3) raise the minimum wage from twelve dollars per hour to thirteen dollars per hour on January 1, 2021; (4) raise the minimum wage from thirteen dollars per hour to fourteen dollars per hour on January 1, 2022; (5) raise the minimum wage from fourteen dollars per hour to fifteen dollars per hour on January 1, 2023; and (6) thereafter index any further minimum wage increases to inflation.”
Family Leave / Possible Bill – H.B. No. 5003: AN ACT IMPLEMENTING A PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE PROGRAM.
Some details on what the legislature is considering: According to a report in the Connecticut Mirror, “workers would be guaranteed up to 12 weeks per year of paid leave to care for an ill family member, and could not be dismissed for taking leave. The benefit would be equal to 100 percent of their pay — up to a maximum of $1,000 per week.”
Paid family and medical leave would purportedly be paid for through a new payroll deduction on all workers in Connecticut. This new benefit would not be available to employees until 12 months after the bill’s enactment to allow the state to amass the necessary financial reserves.
What else are legislative leaders talking about?
Without providing many details, they also claim an interest in encouraging greater investment in manufacturing job training (SB 5: “AN ACT CONCERNING A WORKFORCE PIPELINE AND JOB CREATION”), workplace harassment initiatives, predictive scheduling, and so-called “captive audience meetings” (to prohibit an employer from coercing employees into attending or participating in meetings sponsored by the employer concerning the employer’s views on political or religious matters).
Where does Governor Lamont stand on these matters? According to the Governor’s spokeswomen, Maribel La Luz, the minimum wage and family leave initiatives are policies the Governor supports.
Republican leaders and leading business groups like CBIA have strong concerns. CBIA worries that just because the family leave program is employee funded doesn’t mean employers won’t face new costs, asserting that the way the bill is being proposed would leave employers on the hook for all non-wage benefits during the period of leave.
On the minimum wage – CBIA is pushing for a lengthening of the roll-out period so as to soften the financial impact on employers.
Stay tuned. We will continue to monitor these and other labor and employment matters under consideration by the legislature and provide periodic updates to Connecticut employers.
If you are an employer in Connecticut and have questions about labor or employment law, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys have over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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