A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16 on two of the more controversial proposals to emerge from the Labor and Public Employees Committee this session.

SB 13 and HB 6206 increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour over each of the next five years, then mandate annual increases thereafter.

jobs-recovery-ne_012617HB 5591 effectively erases the state's merit pay system and requires employers to pay all employees doing “comparable work” the same salary—regardless of their productivity or skills.

Both bills are still one-sentence concepts at this point in the session.

Usually, the devil is in the details of legislative proposals, but these concepts on their face are problematic for the business community.

Connecticut has only recovered 70% of the jobs lost in the recession, while most neighboring states have surpassed their pre-recession employment levels.

Increasing the minimum wage, as called for in SB 13 and HB 6206, beyond what businesses can afford in the current economy, is a surefire way to ensure job creation remains stagnant or that we lose even more jobs.

Connecticut has already raised the minimum wage in each of the last four years, and has one of the highest wage thresholds in the nation.

Businesses have responded by automating their lowest-skilled positions faster than previously anticipated.

HB 5591, which requires employees be paid based on their job duties rather than performance, presents significant problems for small businesses.

If the bill is enacted as described, small businesses face losing their top performers to larger companies that can better compensate all employees—including low performers.

This concept also promoted mediocrity in the workforce, as employees would soon realize that they will get the same pay regardless of their productivity.

If these proposals concern your business, CBIA encourages you to contact your elected officials or the Labor and Public Employees Committee (860.240.0540).

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