Labor Committee Approves, Changes Business Bills

03.13.2015
Issues & Policies

A long and sometimes confusing Labor Committee meeting this week ended with the committee approving several proposals with the potential to impact Connecticut’s job creators and their workplaces.
After negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on the committee, some bills were improved, some worsened, and others never made it across the finish line.
And given the number of amendments to proposals that sprang up during the meeting, it also could take some time to sort out the actual substance of some of the bills.
What Was Approved:
SB 914 discourages employers from ever being able to challenge employee wage claims, because the only possible results would be to pay double damages if wrong on the claim or pay high legal costs to be proved right.
HB 6791 forces thousands of large and small businesses to pay a $15 minimum wage or face a new tax. It not only requires employers with 250 employees to pay the $15 rate but also franchisors whose franchisees collectively have 250 employees–meaning almost every type of chain store. This could make low-skill, entry-level jobs and internships a thing of the past in Connecticut.
HB 6789 prevents running a credit check on a job candidate even if he or she would be given access to expensive merchandise, equipment, or property of the employer or customers of the employer.
HB 6850 prevents employers from disciplining their own human resources personnel if they send an email disclosing what each employee of the company earns in wages. It also prohibits disciplining an employee who disturbs employee morale by continuously inquiring about other employees’ salaries
What Was Worsened:
HB 6932 originally allowed any employee to opt into a program providing 12 weeks of paid leave each year at 100% of pay. As amended by the committee, participation in the program is now mandatory for every employee in every business with at least two employees.
While the program will be funded—at least for now–by employee payroll deduction, employers would have to continue providing non-wage benefits even for employees’ potentially annual three-month absences.
It would also require a massive taxpayer-funded increase in state employee personnel and infrastructure to run the program.
As the dust settles after the meeting and the amendments to the bills become available to the public, we will continue to update you on the true impact to the business community.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede at 860.244.1931 | eric.gjede@cbia.com | @egjede

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