Anti-Employer Bills Get the OK from More Committees

05.01.2009
Issues & Policies

This week, two of the year’s most harmful labor-related proposals were again given the green light by legislative committees. Approved by the Appropriations Committee, SB-365 blocks critically important employee-employer communications, and HB-6187, approved by the Judiciary Committee, requires businesses to provide a mandated amount of paid sick leave.

Each proposal in itself is harmful enough. Together, they would deliver a one-two punch to Connecticut businesses and the state’s economy.
SB-365 blocks employers from discussing a wide range of topics with their employees at required staff meetings (called “captive audience” meetings in the legislation).

Disallowing employers from talking about politics and “political matters” is just a ruse, because those terms include issues that are not political—such as wages, health care, employee benefits and working conditions —and that are very important to employees. Even news about community and charitable campaigns would be prohibited.

SB-365 will hurt the very people it is supposed to help, blocking employees from hearing about the bread-and-butter issues they care most about.

Paid sick leave: Unaffordable mandate
HB-6187 requires Connecticut employers of 50 or more hourly and non-exempt workers to provide a minimum of 6.5 paid sick days per year (based on a minimum of one hour paid time off for every 40 hours an employee works).

It’s a one-size-fits-all policy that ignores the many different types of workplaces and industries in Connecticut; the financial health and business demands of companies; and in many cases, an employer’s current time-off policy.

If enacted, this proposal would have a swift and significant effect on the bottom line of many employers. It would increase costs for those who don’t already provide the state-mandated amount of leave time, and it would force many employers to keep costs under control by cutting back on other employee benefits, wages, and in some cases cut jobs.

HB-6187 is also unaffordable. It will cost the state at least $1.2 million over the next two years. The likely cost to municipalities, nonprofit organizations and other private-sector employers will be much higher. Given the deep state budget deficit, our state economy simply can’t afford these extra costs.

Connecticut also would become the only state in the nation to mandate paid sick leave. Not only would that make new businesses less likely to locate, invest or expand here, it would also make Connecticut’s existing businesses less able to compete.

Long before the state’s current fiscal crisis, Connecticut was already one of the states with the highest business costs. SB-365 and HB-6187 will only make matters worse. CBIA appreciates the legislators who voted against these measures.

However, the committees’ approval of SB-365 and HB-6187 sends a strong message that Connecticut is becoming a less business-friendly state.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860-244-1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.

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