August 2021: Connecticut Employers Required to Provide Unpaid Time Off to Vote

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut. 

What happened?
On June 25, 2021, Governor Lamont signed General Assembly Bill 1202 into law, which included unpaid voting leave. 

What are the details?
Effective immediately and through June 30, 2024, employers are required to provide all employees with two hours of unpaid time off to vote. 

Any employee is eligible for the leave in the case of a state election or for employees who are electors in the case of any special election for United States senator, representative in Congress, state senator or state representative. The employee will be entitled to two hours of unpaid time from their regularly scheduled workday of any covered election during voting hours as long as it is requested no less than two working days prior to the election. 

The Bill is here

An article on the bill is here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the information provided above in order to update their leave policies to provide the required leave to their applicable employees for voting. 

July 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Bans Job Applicant Age Inquiries

Update Applicable to:
All Employers in Connecticut.

What happened?
On June 24, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 56 (SB56) into law.

What are the details?
The bill, effective October 1, 2021, will prohibit Connecticut employers with at least three employees from inquiring the age of prospective employees. The employer may not ask, directly or via a third party, a prospective employee about the following on an initial employment application:

  • Age;
  • Date of birth;
  • Dates of attendance at an educational institution; or
  • Date of graduation from an educational institution.

An employer may request that information only if:

  • The request or requirement is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or need; or
  • The employer has a need for such information to comply with applicable state or federal laws.

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and their current job application forms and procedures to ensure they stay in compliance with the law. The law firm, Jackson Lewis P.C., recommends that employers review each position they employ to determine if each requires that a job applicant be a certain age to perform the duties of the position. As well as review applicable state and federal laws to determine if an employer must have information relating to a job applicant’s age to comply with such laws and ensure their key employees in the hiring process are educated about these new inquiry limitations.

June 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Expands Breastfeeding Accommodation Requirements

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut

What happened?
On June 4, 2021, Governor Lamont signed House Bill 5158 (HB 5158) into law.

What are the details?
The new bill, effective October 1, 2021, guarantees an employee’s right to breastfeed or express breast milk at the workplace during their meal or break periods. Additionally, the employer will need to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express breast milk in private.

The room or other location will need to meet the following requirements: 

  • It must be free from intrusion and shielded from the public while the employee expresses breast milk;
  • It must include or be situated near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold storage device in which the employee can store breast milk; and
  • It must have access to an electrical outlet.

The new requirements will apply to the extent that they do not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business. Undue hardship is described as “any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to facts such as the size of the business, its financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.”

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can also be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the above law, and update their workplace policies as needed to ensure compliance with the new law.

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Connecticut Pay Equity Act Passed

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut

What happened?
On June 7, 2021, Governor Lamont signed House Bill 6380 into law.

What are the details?
The bill will be active starting October 1, 2021, and requires employers to disclose the “wage range” for vacant positions to employees and prospective employees and modifies prohibition against pay discrimination based on sex.

The wage range is defined in the law as the range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position, and may include reference to any applicable pay scale, previously determined range of wages for the position, the actual range of wages for those employees currently holding comparable positions or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position. The law does not require an employer to disclose the amount of wages paid to any employee.

In addition to any preexisting restrictions, the new law makes it unlawful for an employer to:

  • Fail or refuse to provide an applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying, upon the earliest of the applicant’s request, or prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation.
  • Fail or refuse to provide an employee the wage range for the employee’s position upon the hiring of the employee, or a change in the employee’s position with the employer, or the employee’s first request for a wage range.

Additionally, the new law modifies the prohibition against pay discrimination on the basis of sex by paying wages at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work on a job. Determining whether work is comparable requires a review of various factors including “a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.” The new law makes clear that geographic location, credentials, skills, education, and training may be bona fide factors other than sex upon which employers may make compensation decisions.

The bill can be read here.

Articles on the bill can also be read here and here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the information above and start preparing to make any necessary changes to their pay practices.

 

May 2021: Connecticut Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Extended to May 20, 2021

What happened?
The Connecticut October 1, 2020 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training deadline has been extended to May 20, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Executive Order outlining date change). This legislation establishes new rules and requirements regarding sexual harassment training and education.  

What are the details?
The provisions and requirements, which apply to employers who have three or more employees, include the following:

  • Employers will be required to provide to a new employee a copy of the information regarding the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims.
  • Employers must provide all existing employees with two hours of training by May 20, 2021.
  • Employers must provide two hours of training and education to new employees hired on or after May 20, 2021, within six months of their start date.
  • Employers must provide periodic supplemental training no less than every 10 years.

What do employers need to do?
Employers must provide training:

  • The Time’s Up Act requires the agency to develop an online training and education video and to make that available to employers at no cost. The training can be viewed at the following website

Information to be provided to new and existing employees:

 

October 2020 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Upcoming Employer Requirements for CT Paid Family Medical Leave

What happened?
In June 2019, Governor Lamont signed the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) bill into law, creating requirements that employers will need to abide by in the coming months. 

What are the details?
The Paid Leave Authority has created a timeline for employers to follow to ensure the PFML program is introduced smoothly.

  • On November 1, 2020, employers with at least one employee within the state of Connecticut will need to register with the Paid Leave Authority.
  • On January 1, 2021, employers will start administering payroll deductions of 0.5% per employee. Contributions are based only on earnings up to the Social Security cap.
  • On January 1, 2022, employees will be allowed to apply for paid family leave compensation.

The Paid Leave Authority will publish literature in the future meant to help employers and employees understand all aspects of the Connecticut Paid Leave program. The Paid Leave Authority will be posting information soon about which file types are accepted by the Authority to accept fund contributions, stating that at a minimum ACH files will be accepted. The Paid Leave Authority is still working with payroll companies to establish the process by which deductions and payments will be remitted.

Employers will be able to petition to opt out of the state’s program. To qualify they will need to participate in a private plan that will provide at least the same monetary benefit for employees and be usable for the same reasons. If employers use a private plan, their contributions will instead go to that private plan instead of being sent to the state.

An employer guide published by the Paid Leave Authority can be found here. The Authority also published a video, found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the following content to know what they are required to do:

  1. Make payroll deductions.
  2. Submit employee contributions.
  3. Communicate with the Paid Leave Authority and Employees about Leave Requests.
  4. Confirm with Third Party Payroll Administrator.
  5. Receive Copy of Payment & Report.
  6. Notify Employees.

August 2020 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Wage Increase Set on September 1, 2020

What happened?
Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour as of September 1, 2020.

What are the details?
On May 28, 2019, Connecticut Governor Lamont signed Public Act 19-4, An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage, which gradually increases the minimum wage in Connecticut over the next several years. The first increase took place on October 1, 2019, when the minimum wage increased to $11.00 per hour.

The next increase will take effect on September 1, 2020, when Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should consult with their payroll specialist to ensure that all employee wages remain in compliance.

July 2020 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Summary of Laws with Upcoming Effective Dates

Sexual Harassment Training
By October 1, 2020, employers must provide sexual harassment training as follows:

  • For employers with three or more employees, employers must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees.
  • For employers with fewer than three employees, employers must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors.
  • New employees hired on or after October 1, 2019, must receive training within six months of their start date. However, employers may request a 90-day extension from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities by explaining how current COVID-19 restrictions have prevented training.
  • If existing employees were provided training after October 1, 2018, employers are not required to provide this training again to such employees. Employers must provide subsequent training at least once every ten years.

June 2020 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Summary of State Laws (Q1 & Q2 2020)

Sexual Harassment Training
By October 1, 2020, employers must provide sexual harassment training as follows: For employers with three or more employees, employers must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees. For employers with fewer than three employees, employers must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors.

New employees hired on or after October 1, 2019, must receive training within six months of their start date. However, employers may request a 90-day extension from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities by explaining how current COVID-19 restrictions have prevented training.

If existing employees were provided training after October 1, 2018, employers are not required to provide this training again to such employees. Employers must provide subsequent training at least once every 10 years.

April 2020 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Essential Workers

What happened?
The governor signed an Executive Order effective April 20, 2020 at 8 p.m. regarding the required use of face masks in the workplace.

What are the details?
All Essential Employers

  • Employees are required to wear a mask or other cloth material that covers their mouth and nose, except when the employee needs to eat or drink. If an employee is in a segregated space, they may remove their masks. All employees must wear the masks upon entry and exit from the workplace, or if they are in any common areas.
  • Employees who have underlying health conditions that could be aggravated due to the use of a mask may choose to not wear a mask. However, medical documentation should be provided to the employer.

Retail Stores

  • Employees shall wear a mask or other cloth material which covers their mouth/nose while the store is open to customers.
  • All customers are required to wear masks while inside the retail facility (except for medical conditions, children under two years of age, or the parent is unable to place a mask safely on an older child).

What do employers need to do?
Essential employers should provide face masks to all employees. If unable to provide face masks, the employer should issue materials and directions per the CDC to create their own masks or compensate staff for money spent on materials to make their own masks.

Resources
https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Safe-Workplace-Rules-for-Essential-Employers

https://www.ctemploymentlawblog.com/2020/04/articles/state-makes-masks-mandatory-in-the-workplace-including-retail-stores/

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/Executive-Orders/Lamont-Executive-Orders/Executive-Order-No-7BB.pdf?la=en

January 2020 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

New Restaurant Wage Law Codifies “80/20 Rule” for Tipped Employees

What happened?
Connecticut has enacted compromise legislation that attempts to clarify how restaurants and other hospitality industry employers must pay workers who receive tips in customer service jobs that also require untipped work. The new law, Public Act 19-1, directs the state’s Labor Commissioner to adopt regulations codifying the so-called “80/20 rule” and to conduct random wage and hour audits of restaurants to ensure wage and hour compliance. It also restricts the right of employees to bring future class actions against restaurants for alleged violation of wage rules. It is not entirely clear when the regulation imposing the 80/20 rule will become effective in Connecticut. The Labor Department is expected to post its intent to adopt the proposed regulation on April 1, 2020, but the final regulation will not become effective until after a comment and hearing process, review by the state attorney general, and approval by the Legislative Regulation Review Committee.

What are the details?
Section 31-62-E4:

  1. The job must be one in which tips have customarily constituted part of the employee’s remuneration and the employee must be made aware of this when hired;
  2. The amount of gratuities claimed by the employer as “tip credit” toward the state minimum wage must be recorded as a separate item in the employee’s wage record on a weekly basis; and
  3. The employer must have and maintain substantial evidence, such as a statement signed by the employee that the amount of tips claimed was in fact received by the employee.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should make every effort to comply with the specific requirements of Section 31-62-E4 until the new regulation actually becomes effective.

Article: https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/connecticuts-new-restaurant-wage-law-codifies-8020-rule-tipped