Repeal Push for Unemployment Reporting Requirements
Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation repealing potentially troublesome and costly unemployment reporting requirements scheduled to take effect in 2024.
The legislature’s Commerce Committee heard testimony March 2 on SB 1091, which repeals Section 270 of Public Act 21-2.
That legislation, adopted in 2021, requires employers to add 15 data elements to quarterly unemployment insurance wage reports beginning July 2024.
Those reporting requirements include gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, home address, and highest education completed.
CBIA’s Ashley Zane told the committee that the requirements represented a substantial change to wage reporting, which for decades has been relatively uniform in every state.
“There are inherent risks for Connecticut to require employers to report extensive demographic data while neighboring states have no such reporting requirements,” she said.
“Of the 15 new data elements, 10 are not currently collected by any other state. Connecticut would clearly be an outlier.”
Zane added that of the five data elements currently collected in other states, two are collected only by Vermont.
The three remaining data elements—location of work, occupation, and hours worked—are currently collected by multiple states.
“SB 1091 prevents many negative unintended consequences for the Department of Labor,” Zane told the committee.
“Timely wage information could be unavailable for the core purpose of administering unemployment insurance benefits when due.
“The Department of Labor would need to edit incoming reports against certain standards and reject employer wage/tax reports or suspend processing while seeking clarification of elements reported.
“Rejected or suspended wage reports could make wage information unavailable when unemployment claimants apply for benefits.”
Thirty-six businesses and business organizations testified in support of the bill.
Mary Fitzgerald, president of ACME Wire Products, told the committee that “adding these data elements to UI wage reports will be problematic and costly for my business.”
Fuss & O’Neill CEO Kevin Grigg said asking employees to reveal sensitive information “could significantly impact my relationship with employees.”
“It is completely reasonable to ask for information that directly impacts their ability to perform their
job description,” he said.
“However, asking for extremely personal information like gender identity could create tension and anxiety between management and personnel.”
Zane added that the requirements also “paint a target on the backs of Connecticut businesses for various cybercrimes.”
“Knowing that Connecticut businesses will have to have this type of information invites hackers to break into businesses’ systems,” she said.
“Connecticut companies will not only have to spend additional funds on accelerating upgrades to payroll and human resource systems, but also to cybersecurity efforts.”
For more information, contact CBIA’s Ashley Zane (860.244.1169) | @AshleyZane9.
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