Anti-Employer Measures Top Labor Committee’s Agenda
The legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee began considering bills this week, including a number of perennial anti-business measures.
Those bills include two mandates long opposed by the business community—an employer gag order and restrictive scheduling.
The 2019 legislative session was a tough one for employers, especially small businesses, with a minimum wage hike and paid family and medical leave program among the new workplace mandates.
These mandates, on top of nearly $2 billion dollars in tax increases, left many employers questioning how they would afford to stay and grow their businesses in Connecticut.
As the end of year employment data showed, even before many of these new taxes and mandates take effect, Connecticut’s job growth trailed neighboring states and the nation.
The labor committee’s agenda includes 17 proposals affecting both public and private employers.
Much of the committee’s agenda targets private sector employers, including the revival of the restrictive scheduling and so-called captive audience measures.
Last year’s restrictive scheduling bill required employers in the restaurant, retail, hospitality, and home care industries to provide 72 hours notice to an employee of any changes in shift schedules or to pay the impacted employee one and a half times their wages.
Such a measure essentially forces employers to take a loss during unexpected slow periods, or be unable to meet customer demand during unexpected upturns.
The bill cleared the labor committee on a 9-4 vote last year, but was never called for a vote in the state Senate.
Employer Gag Order
In what has become an annual event, the committee is also considering legislation drastically restricting employer-employee workplace communications.
Essentially a gag order on employers, the measure continues to be raised in the committee despite numerous legal opinions that such mandates preempt federal law.
The state Senate did not act on last year’s bill.
The committee is scheduled to meet twice more to raise additional bills.
Employers hope the measures the committee considers at future meetings will help create jobs, including scaling back the paid FMLA mandate, making common sense unemployment benefit reforms, and addressing the state’s growing shortage of skilled workers.
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