The snow may have stalled work in the state for a few days, but the Connecticut General Assembly is now in full swing with bills now being discussed and debated.
So far, the list of bills filed before the Labor & Public Employee Committee is small but that is expected to grow soon with bills on “Employee Privacy” for example, on the horizon.
Many of these bills will have a public hearing on Tuesday, February 18th, so if you have any objection, now is a good time to make them known to your local legislator.
- One of the bills getting the most attention is House Bill 5069 titled oddly “An Act Concerning Low Wage Employers.” But if you’ve been paying close attention over the last year, you’ll recall several attempts by unionsto publicize the wages at various fast-food outlets. This bill seems designed to complement those efforts.Not content with the hike in minimum wage, this bill would require employers with 500 or more employees, or any franchisor whose franchisees, collectively, employ 500 or more employees, to pay employees a “standard wage” or pay a “quarterly fee” (a tax) based on the hours worked by an employee.What is this “standard wage”? It’s similar to the “prevailing wage” concept that I’ve talked about before and would, in essence, raise the minimum wage for these workers to around $13 per hour.
Beyond the public policy arguments, there are some legal deficiencies in this bill that may also need to be addressed, including the singling out of franchises without a stated legal purpose. But expect this bill to be heavily contested as the session moves on.
- And speaking of minimum wage, a proposal (Senate Bill 32) has been again floated to raise the minimum wage further — to $9.60 effective January 1, 2016 and $10.10 on January 1, 2017. That too will receive a hearing on Tuesday.
- Another House Bill (5054) would revive a previous legislative proposal that would prohibit employers from disqualifying job applicants “solely” because they are unemployed. I’ve previously covered a version of this bill in a prior post. The bill has the support of Governor Malloy.
And this is just in the first week. The legislative session — in an election year, no less — is starting to move quickly and with purpose. If employers aren’t paying attention yet, now would be a good time to do so.