The Connecticut General Assembly is considering several proposed bills in the state House and Senate that if enacted would affect employers in significant ways. There is a good chance that several employee-friendly bills will pass this year, including a new paid family and medical leave program. Below is the summary of the proposed bills that have been introduced in the House and Senate this year.
Senate Bill No. 1: An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave and House Bill No. 5003
An Act Implementing a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program would create a comprehensive system of paid family and medical leave funded by employee contributions. The Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program proposes to offer up to 12 workweeks of 100% compensation replacement (capped at $1,000 per week) to covered employees in any 12-month period, with an additional two weeks of compensation for serious health conditions resulting in incapacitation that occur during a pregnancy. In the current system, employees can use 16 weeks of leave over a period of two years. By July 1, 2020, employees would have to contribute a percentage of their weekly earnings (not to exceed one-half of one percent) to the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Trust Fund. It is contemplated that the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program would begin paying benefits by July 1, 2021.
Minimum Wage Increase
Senate Bill No. 2, House Bill No. 5504, and Governor’s Bill No. 71791, would amend Section 31-58 of the Connecticut General Statutes to increase the current minimum wage of $10.10 per hour to $15.00 per hour incrementally over the next several years. Senate Bill No. 2 and House Bill No. 5502 propose the following increases:
- Effective January 1, 2020, $12.00
- Effective January 1, 2021, $13.50
- Effective January 1, 2022, $15.00
The legislation proposed by the Governor is more gradual:
- Effective January 1, 2020, $11.25
- Effective January 1, 2021, $12.50
- Effective January 1, 2022, $12.75
- Effective January 1, 2023, $15.00
On-Call Shift Scheduling
Senate Bill No. 764 – Act Prohibiting “On-Call Shift” Scheduling and House Bill No. 6924 – Act Limiting “On-Call” Shift Scheduling plans to drastically limit scheduling practices by employers in the mercantile trade, restaurant, hospitality, and residential care industries by imposing burdensome notice, pay, and record-keeping requirements. The legislation would apply to employers with 25 or more employees, regardless of location.
An employer would have to pay employees half of their regular rate for any scheduled work hours they do not work due to the employer canceling or reducing the employees’ work hours where:
- The employees have already reported working their scheduled hours, or
- There is less than 72 hours prior to the start of the employees’ next scheduled shift.
An employee could deny working a shift that begins less than 11 hours after the end of the employee’s previous day’s shift or during the 11-hour period following the end of the employee’s shift that spanned two days. The proposed legislation would be effective on October 1, 2019. Note that there is no exception for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Paid Sick Leave
House Bill No. 6929 – Act Concerning Temporary Employment Agencies and Paid Sick Leave is likely to extend statutory paid sick leave benefits to workers employed by employment agencies or temporary help services.
Breastfeeding in the Workplace
House Bill No. 7043 – Act Concerning Breastfeeding in the Workplace would require employers to make efforts to provide a lactation room in the workplace. The bill also specifies that the lactation room is private, free from intrusion and shielded from the public, include or be near a refrigerator where an employee can store expressed breast milk and include access to an electrical outlet.
Time Off to Vote
House Bill No. 358 requires employers to allow their employees to have not less than 4 hours off to vote on the day of the elections. However, the legislation does not specify whether an employer must compensate an employee for the time away from work and/or whether the employee could use accrued leave.