Each year, the Connecticut General Assembly passes a number of laws. Rather than have them enacted immediately upon the governor’s signature, many of the bills become effective on October 1st of that respective year.

I followed several workplace bills earlier this year but most never made it very far. One bill did and it gives new workplace protections to family violence victims.  I previously did a full recap here, but here are the highlights:

  • The new law prohibits an employer from terminating, penalizing, threatening, or otherwise coercing an employee with respect to his or her employment because the employee (1) is a family violence victim or (2) attends or participates in a civil court proceeding related to a case in which he or she is a family violence victim. The bill doubles, from 90 to 180 days, the time an employee has to bring a civil action against an employer who takes any of these actions.
  • The new law requires employers to allow family violence victims to take paid or unpaid leave (including compensatory time, vacation time, personal days, or other time off) during any calendar year in which the leave is reasonably necessary for a variety of listed reasons. Employers may limit unpaid leave taken under the bill’s provisions to 12 days per calendar year but note that it has no effect on any other leave provided under state or federal law.  

    Employer can ask for notices and a written statement certifying the leave and ask that the leave be scheduled ahead of time as well.  But if the employer receives such notices, it must keep written statements confidential.  

By now, Connecticut employers should have reviewed their existing policies and procedures to understand the impact of this new law. Moreover, employers may want to consider amending their leave policies to cover this new type of leave.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether employees will avail themselves of this leave or whether this law will have only very limited impacts on employers.  But regardless, employers should be aware of this new leave should any requests by employees be made.