As some new laws became effective in 2021 and others take effect in 2022, it’s time for employers to update their employee handbooks. This article summarizes some developments that may require new policies or revisions to existing ones.

FMLA Policy: On January 1, 2022, Connecticut’s FMLA will be expanded to cover nearly all employers. The reasons why an employee may take job-protected leave also have been significantly expanded. Covered employers will need to either revise their FMLA policy or adopt a new policy if the employer was not previously covered under the state’s FMLA.

Salary Ranges: As of October 1, 2021, employers are required to provide the wage ranges for job positions to applicants prior to or when a conditional offer of employment is made, and to current employees upon their hiring or a change in the employee’s position. Employers must also provide wage ranges upon request. Employers should consider having a policy addressing this new requirement and noting that wage ranges may be periodically modified.

Drug and Alcohol Policy: Employers should review and update their drug and alcohol policy since adult recreational marijuana use is now legal in Connecticut. The new law includes some employment protections that will be effective on July 1, 2022 and generally restrict an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for using marijuana outside the workplace. However, the law exempts various employers and allows covered employers significant latitude to prohibit off-duty marijuana use provided the employer adopts and distributes a written policy.

Remote Work: With an increasing number of employees working remotely, employers are well-advised to revisit, or adopt, a policy setting forth the terms and conditions of remote work, including addressing the job positions that may be eligible for remote work and compliance with wage and hour laws.

Smoking Policy: As of October 1, 2021, employers must prohibit smoking and the use of electronic nicotine and cannabis delivery systems and vapor products in any area of any business under the employer’s control. Also, any outdoor smoking must be at least 25 feet away from the building. Employers should revise their smoking policy to address these changes and comply with new no-smoking signage requirements.

Non-Discrimination & Dress Code Policies: Connecticut’s passage of the CROWN Act changes the definition of the word “race” as it is used in anti-discrimination statutes to specifically include “ethnic traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.” Protective hairstyles include “wigs, headwraps and hairstyles such as individual braids, cornrows, locs, twists, Bantu knots, afros and afro puffs.” Employers should review their dress or appearance policy to ensure that it does not violate this law, either explicitly or by implication.

Age Inquiries of Prospective Employees: Employers with three or more employee are generally prohibited from requesting or requiring a prospective employee to provide their age, birthdate, or dates of attendance at or graduation from an educational institution. Employers should review their employment application form and hiring practices to ensure compliance.

Holiday Policy: Juneteenth (June 19th) is now considered a federal holiday. Employers may wish to revise their holiday policy to include this new federal holiday.

Voting Time: Employers must provide each employee two hours of unpaid time off to vote in any state election or special election for U.S. senator, representative in Congress, state senator or state representative. To be eligible, employees must request the time at least two working days in advance. Employer may wish to adopt a policy that addresses this new law.

Education Assistance Program: Connecticut now requires employers with 100 or more employees to notify their Connecticut resident employees if the employer offers an education assistance program and provide details of the plan. Covered employers should ensure that their policy is compliant.

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.