The legislature's Labor and Public Employees Committee has approved several bills with potentially negative consequences for Connecticut businesses.

Business leaders flooded the state Capitol this week for Connecticut Business Day, urging lawmakers to focus on economic growth and job creation.

CBIA's Eric Gjede said their message was about "reducing the cost of doing business in Connecticut, not adding to it."

Unfortunately, most of the bills passed by the Labor Committee neither address the high cost of doing business nor improve perceptions about the state's business climate.

Employer Gag Order

Take the so-called captive audience bill, SB 64, which drastically restricts workplace communications between employer and employee.

The committee moved that bill to the Senate on a party line vote March 14, despite an opinion last year from the attorney general that the measure was preempted by federal law.

The committee also approved SB 358, which requires that employers provide employees not less than four hours time off to vote in a regular or special election for any state, district, or municipal office.

Most of the bills passed by the committee neither address the high cost of doing business nor improve perceptions about the state's business climate.
Gjede noted that current polling hours—6 am to 8 pm—give employees ample time to vote without interfering with work schedules.

"Requiring businesses to provide employees with four or more hours off during the work day to vote is yet one more cost, due to loss of productivity, that businesses must incur," he said.

Other Bills

The committee also approved:

  • HB 5271. Updates and expands current law requiring sexual harassment prevention training for  employees with managerial or supervisory duties at businesses with at least 50 employees. Also requires four hours of training annually rather than two hours upon promotion to managerial or supervisory position.
  • SB 990Requires call center businesses with 50 or more employees to provide the state Department of Labor with 100 days notice if employees providing 30% of call volume coverage are being eliminated or transferred. For each day under 100 days notice, the employer is fined $10,000 and loses tax benefits. Such companies must have an in-state call center to service Connecticut operations if they want to remain a state contractor.
  • HB 6921Makes it a discriminatory practice to use publicly available criminal histories in any decision on whether to offer housing or employment to an individual.  
  • HB 6913. Prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign unfair covenants not to compete. Noncompete agreements would not be permitted for longer than one year. Further, they would be inapplicable in instances where a business was being closed or sold, when the employer terminates the employee, or where the employee ends the relationship with the employer for cause.
  • SB 764 and HB 6924. Mandates businesses in mercantile, restaurant, hotel, motel or resort, or residential care facility industries to provide 72 hours notice to employees of any changes to scheduled shifts. Employee must be paid for half of the period of reduced shifts. There are some exceptions for weather and natural disasters.

These measures, along with legislation increasing the minimum wage and imposing a new paid family and medical leave mandate will dramatically reduce businesses' ability to compete and grow.


For more information, contact CBIA's Eric Gjede (860.480.1784) | @egjede