A bill with significant harmful impacts for retail, restaurant, and hotel chains cleared the state Senate this week and now moves to the House. 

A late amendment limits the impact of SB 668 to businesses with at least 500 employees—up from 250—exempts nursing homes, and reduces the required notice for shift changes from 14 to seven days.

The mandate also impacts restaurants with 30 or more locations, or franchisees where the global network includes at least 500 employees.

The bill passed on a 20-16 vote, with Democratic senators Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury), James Maroney (D-Milford), Norm Needleman (D-Essex), and Cathy Osten (D-Baltic) joining all Republicans in opposing the measure.

Requirements, Penalties

If SB 668 clears the state House, employers must provide workers an estimated work schedule, average number of weekly hours, and minimum shift lengths, with schedules posted two weeks in advance.

Employers also must ask new hires for a written statement of their desired number of hours and available days for work. In turn, the employer must provide a non-binding estimate of the employee’s work schedule. 

Employers that adjust employee shifts without seven days notice must pay workers for half of the duration of any canceled shift.

In addition to the troubling new administrative tasks, the bill also imposes a variety of financial penalties on businesses that attempt to revise these schedules without adequate notice.

Employers that adjust an employee’s shifts without at least seven days notice must pay workers for half of the duration of any canceled shift, and one hour of additional pay for each instance the employer adds one or more hours to a posted shift. 

The financial penalties do not apply if the employee submits a written request to use sick leave or vacation, a mutually agreed upon shift trade between employees, the shutdown of public transportation or utility, natural disaster, or emergency declaration by the state or federal governments.

'Slippery Slope'

In addition to being an obvious slippery slope that will eventually encompass all businesses in the state, the bill is troubling in a variety of aspects.

For one, the language regarding franchises is unclear—potentially impacting small businesses as a result of other small businesses owners opening locations anywhere else in the world.

The bill micromanages industries and prevents them from adjusting to slowdowns in business, changes to customer behavior related to weather conditions, or the lack of availability of materials needed to perform the job for which the employee is scheduled.

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