Now that the Labor and Public Employees Committee has finished its work for the session, approved bills are being analyzed by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis—and the costs on Connecticut’s ability to sustain and grow jobs are beginning to mount.
HB 6914 requires any person providing janitorial or maintenance services in a building with at least 100,000 square feet, or in a private or public institution of higher education, or a museum, get a minimum 30-hour work week.
It also applies to the owner of the building where the services are provided, regardless of whether the individuals performing those services are employees or contractors.
The bill’s goal is portrayed as providing more full-time jobs, but if no additional hours are worked, it will reduce the total number of workers, benefiting only those lucky enough to get full-time hours.
This is a very restrictive workplace mandate, and could lead to business owners having to pay for services they may not need, or to keep the lights on longer for fewer janitors to do the same job.
However, under HB 6914, private employers won’t be alone in feeling the cost of this proposal.
OFA confirmed this week that the bill carries a hefty price tag—estimating it will cost the state’s higher education system from $5 million to $10 million a year in additional expenses.
As students in work-study programs will be prevented from performing janitorial and maintenance duties, colleges and universities will have to hire replacement workers.
This not only adds costs to colleges—as they face mounting budget pressures—but it could take jobs away from students working their way through college, as well as part-time workers who for whatever reason cannot work full time.
Fewer jobs at higher costs—not the best remedy for Connecticut’s slowly growing economy.