So last week I provided a recap of a few of the labor & employment law bills still being kicked around the legislature. From talking with a few folks in on the process, here are some other bills to keep an eye on (whether in this original form or as an amendment to an existing bill).
- House Bill 5367 would reform the unemployment compensation process a bit. It makes several changes to unemployment benefits and eligibility requirements for receiving them by 1) increasing from $15 to $50 the minimum amount of weekly unemployment benefits most claimants can receive; 2) increasing from $600 to $2,000 the minimum amount most claimants must earn during their base period (the first four of the last five calendar quarters) to be eligible for benefits; and, 3) requires most claimants’ benefits to be based on their average quarterly wages during all four quarters of their base period, instead of during their two highest earning quarters. The reforms would make Connecticut more consistent with neighboring states. The CBIA has supported this bill.
- House Bill 5237 — the so-called “ban the box” bill — is one I’ve touched on before. It was recently referred to the Appropriations Committee. It’s being closely watched by business interests and should be a top item for employers to track.
- House Bill 5591 would create a Connecticut Retirement Security Authority (“authority”) to establish a program for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) for eligible private-sector employees, who are automatically enrolled in the plan unless they opt out. The bill would apply to all private sector employers that employ at least five people each of whom was paid at least $5,000 in wages in the preceding calendar year. There is a significant administrative cost however to this bill and in light of the state’s fiscal crisis, it seems unlikely that it will be passed this year.
- House Bill 5402 is still kicking around too. It would greatly expand the state’s whistleblower protection laws by expanding protection to employees who (1) make reports to their supervisors or managers (either directly or through a third party) or (2) participate in the employer’s or a public body’s investigation or similar proceeding on request of a supervisor or manager or the public body. Not surprisingly, business interest groups have been opposing this bill because it greatly expands the scope of the protection and would change time deadlines as well.
Many other bills died in committee earlier this month so at least the scope of the potential changes out there is known. How much gets passed this year will depend, at least in part, on how the state can resolve its projected deficits. Connecticut has been seen, of late, as being anti-business (see, e.g., GE) and the governor has made it clear that he’s not in favor of additional tax hikes on businesses.
So stay tuned!