November 2021: Connecticut Salary Range Question and Answers

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?

On September 28, 2021, the Connecticut Department of Labor released a Q&A for House Bill No. 6380 (HB 6380) Public Act 21-30.

What are the details?

In September 2021, the Connecticut Department of Labor released an article “Questions and Answers Regarding Public Act 21-30” – “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position,” a guidance – not legal advice – for employers to comply with the new law that has been in effect since October 1, 2021.

Public Act 21-30 is a law prohibiting employers from failing or refusing to provide:

  • An applicant with the wage range for the position they applied to, either when they request it or before they are offered compensation, whichever is earlier; or
  • An employee with the wage range for their position when they are hired, change their position, or when they first request their wage range.

For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill No. 6380

Q&A Regarding Public Act 21-30

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the questions within the Q&A link and review their payroll system.

October 2021: Connecticut’s CROWN Act Enacted

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?

On March 25, 2021, the Secretary of State passed the Connecticut CROWN Act (HB 6515) into law.

What are the details?

The law, effective as of October 1, 2021, amends the definition of “race” under the Connecticut Human Rights law, including the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), to encompass ethnic traits associated with race, including hair texture and hairstyles, such as wigs, head wraps, braids, cornrows, locks, twists, Bantu knots, afros, and afro puffs.

For more information, please see the links below:

HB 6515

Article

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the law and their policies to make applicable updates to stay in compliance with both the CROWN Act and CFEPA. 

September 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Makes Allowance for Some Training Portability

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?

On March 15, 2021, the Connecticut General Assembly amended the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA).

What are the details?

The amendments, effective October 1, 2021, include information on the training portability of training completed by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

The amendment states that employers are released from their obligation to provide training to a new employee if the new employee has received in-person training provided by the CHRO or taken the CHRO’s online training while employed by a different employer within the two years preceding the date of hire.

Information on the amendment can be read here.

An article on the amendment can be read here.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the amendments to be aware of the portability of the sexual harassment trainings provided by the CHRO and the impact of this amendment to their training policies.

August 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Recreational Marijuana Use Legalized in Connecticut

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?
On June 22, 2021, Governor Lamont signed Senate Bill (SB 1201) into law. 

What are the details?
The law, effective July 1, 2022, legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older, requires expungement of certain existing marijuana convictions, and creates employment protections for recreational marijuana users. With certain statutory requirements, the law expressly permits employers to continue prohibiting employees from recreationally using marijuana. Employers that wish to take action based on positive recreational marijuana test results must comply with the requirements as a positive test alone will be insufficient to justify adverse employment action.

The law provides several provisions to employers that work to maintain a drug-free workplace.

  • Employers may continue to prohibit the use or possession of marijuana during work hours, on employer premises, and while using an employer’s equipment or other property.
  • Employers may continue to take adverse employment action based on recreational marijuana use, provided a written policy is in effect to prohibit such use.  Similarly, the law expressly allows employers to rescind conditional offers of employment to applicants who test positive for recreational marijuana use, provided the policy is made available to the applicant when the offer is made.
  • Employers are permitted to take adverse action against an employee who fails a reasonable suspicion drug test for marijuana, even if the employer has not implemented a written policy. 
  • Although the new law lacks clarity, it appears that employers in certain industries, including but not limited to mining, utilities, construction, transportation and delivery, healthcare or social services, educational services, and justice, public order, or safety activities are specifically exempted from the statutory provisions prohibiting adverse employment action unless under a written policy.
  • Employees in certain positions are also expressly excluded from protections offered to workers who engage in off-duty recreational marijuana use.  Express exemptions include, but are not limited to, positions regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), positions funded by federal grants, positions requiring supervision of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons, and positions with any potential health/safety impact (as determined by the employer). Individuals working in these positions are not entitled to legal protection for off-work marijuana use.

The new law will also prohibit adverse action by non-exempt employers without a written substance abuse/testing policy establishing rules against recreational marijuana use outside of work. This will impact the testing of both applicants and employees as, without a policy, employers will be prohibited from taking adverse action based on a positive marijuana drug test unless the employer had reasonable suspicion an employee was under the influence at the time of referral for testing.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law here as well as their drug testing and marijuana policies to update and add any applicable policies to be in compliance by the time the law is in effect. The law firm, Littler Mendelson P.C., recommends employers review and update their existing drug-testing policies or implement a written policy if one is not already in place.  If an employer is using urine drug testing, keep in mind that the provisions of Connecticut’s general drug-testing statute regulating the use of urinalysis remain in place. Employers subject to federal drug-testing requirements should continue testing as mandated by federal law and seek guidance as necessary for state law compliance relating to their non-regulated workforces.

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.