State lawmakers must prioritize job creation and economic growth over new harmful workplace mandates, a coalition of Connecticut business groups said today.
"While well-intended, these proposals are being considered at a time when Connecticut is still struggling to compete with other states for investment, economic growth, and job creation," said CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan.
"These mandates will add costs and administrative burdens on job creators when we should be unlocking—not restraining—the state’s economic potential."
In total, these new mandates could cost Connecticut taxpayers and businesses as much as $530 million in implementation and compliance—further hampering much needed investment.
Proposed workplace mandates include paid family and medical leave, expanded paid sick leave, minimum wage hikes, and sweeping changes to workplace harassment statutes.
"Traditional brick and mortar retailers are under attack from online entities outside the state," said Wayne Pesce, president, Connecticut Food Association.
"Mandating increased benefits like paid sick leave will only put pressure on Connecticut businesses, further destabilizing our state’s fragile economy."
Such mandates drive employers—particularly small businesses—to the point that they're forced to raise prices, cut hours, or reduce their workforces: hurting the very people they are intended to help.
"Connecticut businesses go to incredible lengths to ensure safe workplaces for employees, and are willing to do more," said CBIA counsel EricGjede.
"However, we do need to keep in mind the costs of sexual harassment prevention training programs and modify legislation that seeks to impose excessive damages and liability on those employers who are properly enforcing the law."
"Connecticut small businesses are struggling to survive each and every day due to increased regulation and wage hikes," said Connecticut Restaurant Association executive director Scott Dolch.
These mandates will have a negative impact on business growth throughout our state.
National Federation of Independent Businesses Connecticut chair Wendy Traub, who owns a construction firm in the state's Northwest corner, said the combined impact of new labor mandates could result in the shuttering of small businesses and the elimination of jobs.
"Requiring smaller employers to offer 12 weeks of leave will be very difficult for those companies," Traub said. "If a firm has just five employees, a fifth of the workforce could be out for months at a time.
"Many of these jobs may also be specialized. There would be recruiting, training, and overtime costs incurred for employees who will only be hired temporarily.
"If the company survives on thin profit margins, which isn't unusual, it could be a death knell, which means no jobs at all.
"And if you add in a $15 minimum wage for employees with no skills or experience, other costly labor mandates, and consider Connecticut’s very high taxes, no business will move here.
"Those already here may flee. That only hurts all the state's residents and its economy."
"The wage increase may be well-intentioned, but it will cut entry-level employees out of the job market altogether," said NFIB state director Andrew Markowski.
"Pile on a paid leave bill that makes it impossible to get the workload done, and you endanger the small businesses that create half the new jobs in this state.
"All these potential mandates would have a devastating cumulative effect."
These mandates, despite good intentions, distract from the most important issue facing Connecticut and its policymakers—the urgent need to spur business investment and job creation.
CBIA is Connecticut’s largest business organization, with thousands of member companies, small and large, representing a diverse range of industries from every part of the state. For more information, please email or call Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).
The Connecticut Food Association is the state trade association that conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 240 member companies—food retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and service providers in the state of Connecticut.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association is a full service, nonprofit trade association dedicated to support every type and size of restaurant. Advocates for the Connecticut restaurant industry, a hub for information and a platform for networking, CRA is committed to offering cost effective benefits and resources needed to run a profitable business.
NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB's mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.