Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly

LR-CT-State-Capital-BldgThe General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will be having its next public hearing on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building.

The Committee will consider the following bills:

  1. Senate Bill. No. 219 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING THE MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEM CONTRIBUTION RATE.  This bill would increase the contribution rate for members of the Municipal Employee Retirement System.
  2. Senate Bill No. 220 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING THE INCLUSION OF LABOR HISTORY IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULUM.  This bill would include labor history, labor law and free market capitalism and “entrepreneurialism” in the prescribed courses of study in the public school curriculum.
  3. Senate Bill. No. 221 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING CREDIT CHECKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. This bill would add mortgage brokers and other mortgage servicers to the definition of “financial institution” for the purposes of employer inquiries about employee (and prospective employee) credit ratings.
  4. Senate Bill No. 222 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEFINITION OF MANAGERIAL EMPLOYEE.  This bill would classify fewer state employees as managers ineligible for certain benefits and protections, particularly as to those employed in the higher education system
  5. House Bill No. 5256 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMPENSATION OF WORKERS ON FAMILY HOLIDAYS.  This bill would compensate certain “retail” employees who are required by their employers to work on “family holidays” (Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day) via the payment of specified overtime rates and/or the provision of future paid leave.
  6. House Bill No. 5257 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES AND HOSPITAL CONVERSIONS. This bill would protect hospital workers and community members who may be subject to a hospital “conversion” or transfer of assets  by requiring a series of public hearings and requiring any group seeking to acquire a nonprofit hospital to commit to maintaining certain staffing levels, wage rates, and collective bargaining requirements prior to initiating the acquisition.
  7. House Bill No. 5279 (RAISED), AN ACT ELIMINATING THE MINIMUM FAIR WAGE EXCEPTION FOR CERTAIN CITIZENS OF CONNECTICUT.  This bill would eliminate the minimum wage exception for individuals with impaired capacity (by age or physical or mental deficiency or injury).
  8. House Bill No. 5280 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING EXECUTIVE EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION.  This bill would make any employer that compensates an officer, director, or employee at a rate greater than (or equal to) 50 times the average annual compensation for the employer’s employees ineligible for tax credits, exemptions, abatements or financial assistance from the State.
  9. House Bill No. 5281 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING MEMBERS OF THE DISABILITY RETIREMENT BOARD. This bill would include a physician experienced in the fields of respiratory or pulmonary medicine on the State’s disability retirement board
  10. House Bill No. 5282 (RAISED),  AN ACT CONCERNING WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. This bill would allow owners of business employing three or less employees (exclusive of the owner) to exclude themselves from workers’ compensation coverage provided they notify in writing  their clients of such exclusion and agree to hold their clients harmless if they are injured while providing services to the client.
  11. House Bill No. 5283 (RAISED),  AN ACT CONCERNING EXPANSION OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE.   This bill would allow employees eligible for leave under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act to take such leave to care for certain extended family members (parents-in-law, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren) that have a serious health condition.

In addition, also of interest to employers is Senate Bill No. 263 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXTENSION OF WHISTLE-BLOWER PROTECTIONS TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO REPORTS A SUSPECTED VIOLATION OF LAW TO THE EMPLOYEE’S SUPERVISOR OR MANAGER.  This bill would  amend  the whistle-blower statute by  a) extending whistle-blower protections to an employee who reports to the employee’s supervisor or manager (as opposed to the public agency itself) a violation or a suspected violation of any federal, state or municipal  law, ordinance or regulation, and b) extending the statute of limitations period for filing a lawsuit under the statute, and c) extending the  types of relief available under such a lawsuit to include “non-economic” damages (e.g., emotional distress) and front pay.  This bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.  Stay tuned.