Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard lots of grumbling about the employment law proposals being floated at the Connecticut General Assembly. But it wasn’t until recently, that I understood how serious one proposal is.
Last week, proponents of House Bill 6933 held a press conference to have the legislature pass a measure requiring employers to post employee schedules 21 days in advance —or pay a “predictability tax” if that schedule is changed in any way. CBIA has more details here and describes it as a “Catch-22” for employers.
From an employment law perspective, the proposed bill would add yet another serious of layers for employers to have to address. The bill would require employers to provide employees with a minimum of 21 days notice of their schedules. Any changes to those schedules would result in the employer having to pay a “predictability” tax/penalty of anywhere of 1 hour of pay to 4 hours of pay or perhaps more.
Employees who are unhappy with the results could then file a claim with the Connecticut Department of Labor.
But that’s not all. Employees who believe that they should be compensated for the “predictability” pay could then file a claim in Superior Court for treble (read: triple!) damages and attorneys’ fees.
And under the bill, the employer could not defend itself by saying that the employee and employer have agreed to waive the predictability pay; in other words, the employee cannot say “I don’t need the three weeks’ notice”. It would be mandatory.
Obviously, this is a class-action lawsuit bonanza waiting to happen. All employers in the state — no matter how large or small — would be subject to this new law, if passed.
Putting aside the politics of such a proposal, I have little doubt that this proposal would be very onerous for employers to follow. At the public hearing on this measure, there were many examples provided by non-profit employers and others that describe the difficulties that such a proposal would have. Even the state’s judicial branch expressed serious reservations.
If this is an issue of concern to your workplace, you may want to contact your local legislature to share your opinion before the measure comes up for a possible vote something this year.