At the stroke of midnight last night, the 2019 General Assembly came to a close.
I think it’s fair to say that 2019 will go down in history not for the number of bills impacting employers, but for the breadth of the few that passed.
I’ve recapped the bills in some prior posts, but here’s what employers need to know (thus far) about this legislative session.
The Governor has already signed the biggest increase to minimum wage we’ve seen in many years.
The new schedule is as follows:
- $11.00 on October 1, 2019
- $12.00 on September 1, 2020
- $13.00 on August 1, 2021
- $14.00 on July 1, 2022
- $15.00 on June 1, 2023
And understand that there will be future increases automatically after that time. The state did not make changes to the tip credit but did make changes to training wages. My full post about it is here.
Starting January 1, 2022, the state’s FMLA law is being expanded significantly in several ways. First, it will apply to nearly all employers. Second, employees will only need to work for an employer for three months (and no hours minimum) to be eligible. Third, employees will get 12 weeks leave — and be reimbursed through a new program established by the state. Fourth, employees may take leave for the serious health condition of a greater scope of family members including those whose “close association” is like a family member.
One issue that hasn’t been addressed as of yet: How does this law interact with the Paid Sick Leave law already in the books? I’ll save that for another blog post.
Again, I’ve recapped the new law in a separate post here. The Governor is expected to sign the bill shortly.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE and CHANGES TO DISCRIMINATION LAWS
New training requirements will go into effect starting October 1, 2019. Within a year, all supervisors will need to be trained regarding the law on sexual harassment and all employees (at employers with three or more employees) will also need to be trained too.
But the new law goes far beyond that to require notices to be e-mailed to employees, to changes to the deadline for filing discrimination complaints, to the types of damages available for discrimination complaints.
Again, I’ve recapped the new law in a separate post here.
BAN ON NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT FOR HOME HEALTH WORKERS
The state’s budget includes a provision that bans the use of non-compete agreements for homemaker, companion,
or home health services under certain conditions. The provision would make such contracts void and unenforceable. The ban will go into effect immediately once the budget is formally signed by the Governor. For more on the provision, see my prior post here.
A bill that has received scant attention thus far, but that passed on consent last night, will expand whistleblower protections to cover entities that receive state financial assistance under the commerce and
economic and community development laws (“financial aid recipients”). It does so by making them “large state contractors” under the law. You can read the legislative recap here.
As the dust settles from a whirlwind last few days of the legislative session, the above bills represent significant changes that all employers in Connecticut will need to pay attention to.
While some provisions may not go into effect for a while, the training requirements in particular will demand employers attention on a more immediate basis. Training all employees at various companies will be time-consuming and, in some instances, costly.