Pregnant worker accommodations, a streamlined workers' compensation process, and a small business hotline are among the new business-related laws that go into effect October 1.

CBIA actively supported a successful bill that streamlines and improves the workers' compensation process, ensuring ensure employers can properly investigate claims.

Public Act 17-141 (HB 7132) requires that employers post notice of where a workers' comp claim must be sent via certified mail in the same place where other mandated employee and work notices are posted.

The law also requires the employer to post that information on the Workers Compensation Commission's website.

The changes to the law ensure worker claims get into the hands of the person in charge of investigating and processing it.

Employers have only 28 days from when they receive a written claim of a claim to either indicate they are contesting it, or to begin paying benefits to the worker.

But if the employer misses the deadline, the system used to presume the employer accepted the claim and will pay.

That's why it's important that claims are filed directly with the person charged with investigating and contacting the insurer.

Under changes to the law, the 28-day period does not begin until the worker's notice is filed with the person who investigates it.

This change helps workers by providing a point person to receive their claim and allows for prompt investigation.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Beginning Oct. 1, employers must notify employees that it is a discriminatory practice to fail to make a reasonable accommodation requested by a pregnant employee unless such accommodation is an undue hardship to the company.

Under PA 17-118 (HB 6668), reasonable accommodations may include more frequent breaks, being permitted to sit, and modified work schedules.

It is also deemed discriminatory to segregate a pregnant employee or deprive an employee of an employment opportunity solely because of pregnancy.

The new requirement to notify employees of their right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy can be satisfied by placing a poster written in English and Spanish in the workplace.

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is now responsible for enforcing the new provisions.

Other New Laws

Special Act 17-15 (HB 6219) provides incentives encouraging employers to hire previously incarcerated individuals.

CBIA supports giving employment opportunities to ex-offenders, and the state of Connecticut Department of Corrections provides various educational services to inmates, including technical education to help fill manufacturing jobs.

PA 17-158 (HB 5584) creates a small business hotline at the Department of Economic and Community Development to provide individualized information and assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs across Connecticut.

Callers will get advice on starting, developing, and maintaining a successful business in Connecticut.

PA 17-132 (HB 7062) authorizes DECD to create a "Made in Connecticut" logo for use by manufacturers and producers of Connecticut-made products.