Legislative proposals hiking the state's minimum wage and imposing scheduling restrictions on employers will add additional costs and administrative burdens to Connecticut businesses.
HB 5388, raised by the legislature's Labor and Public Employees Committee, increases the state's minimum wage in steps to $15 per hour by 2021, then calls for automatic increases every year after that.
Advocates claim the increases boost economic activity, which results in more hiring.
But as businesses have warned for years, when wage increases are not market driven, they can result in greater automation rather than more workers.
Experience has also shown that when businesses are allowed to succeed, wages rise on their own.
After the recent federal tax reform bill passed Congress, nearly 400 businesses across the nation announced wage increases, employee bonuses, and in some cases, paid leave.
It shows that when businesses do well, employees do well.
But the reverse is also true—when businesses fare poorly, the workforce usually takes a hit.
In a strong economy, modest minimum wage increases can be absorbed.
Having government mandate wage increases in a sluggish economy—rather than letting the market dictate them—will further hamper our state's ability to recover from the economic recession.
Scheduling Restrictions Target Employers
The legislature's Committee on Children also proposed greater restrictions on how employers schedule work shifts.
SB 321 requires employers to provide 24-hour notice of the work schedule to employees for any shift.
Past proposals of this bill usually required employers pay workers some type of "predictability pay" when they were forced to alter a shift.
While this year's proposal doesn't include that provision, it does allow the state Department of Labor to adopt regulations to enforce the bill's mandates.
Companies need the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing demands of clients and customers or risk going out of business.
Daycare providers must be able to call in employees at the last minute to accommodate parents while maintaining legally mandated student-to-teacher ratios.
Builders must have the option of telling employees not to show up if necessary materials have not arrived on the site.
Retail businesses must be able to send an employee home when there are no customers or risk paying that worker to do nothing.
To be sure, employees need some predictability in their lives. But companies also need the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing demands of clients and customers or risk going out of business.