The 2022 legislative session is in full swing with a slate of bills that have been advanced in the Labor Committee. Some of these bills are ones that have been proposed in the past, while others are new proposals. These bills have the potential to impact your workplace and, therefore, it is important to speak up and reach out to your state representatives if you have any concerns. Here is a rundown of some bills that are likely to be most impactful for all employers:

SB 312: AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXPANSION OF CONNECTICUT PAID SICK DAYS. Expands the paid sick leave law to require every employer (not just those with 50 or more employees) to provide every employee (not just service workers) with one hour of paid sick leave for each 30 hours worked (instead of 40 hours) up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Would also require every employer to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 sick leave.

HB 5249: AN ACT CONCERNING NONCOMPETE AGREEMENTS: Significantly restricts an employer’s use of non-compete agreement. Would invalidate non-compete agreements for non-exempt (hourly) employees, employees earning not less than three times the minimum wage, and independent contractors earning less than five times the minimum wage. Would also render a non-compete unenforceable if the employer terminates the employment relationship without cause (which is not defined in the bill). There are numerous other restrictions, including a 12-month limit on the non-compete duration.

SB 317: AN ACT CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT FOR STRIKING EMPLOYEES. Permits employees who are on strike to collect unemployment benefits after two weeks. This would reverse current law, which generally renders a striking employee ineligible for benefits.

SB 318: AN ACT CONCERNING CAPTIVE AUDIENCE MEETINGS. Allows employees to bring a civil action against an employer if the employer requires employees to attend or participate in a meeting or listen to a speech, the primary purpose of which is to communicate the employer’s opinion concerning “religious matters” or “political matters”. The definitions of these terms are broad and could include a meeting to discuss legislation or regulations that impact business operations, employer involvement in civic or community events, and labor unions.

SB 321: AN ACT EXPANDING WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVERAGE FOR POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS INJURIES FOR ALL EMPLOYEES. Extends workers’ compensation coverage for all employees (not just first responders) who have post-traumatic stress due to certain events such as viewing a deceased minor, witnessing the death of a person, and witnessing an injury to a person who subsequently dies before or after admission at a hospital.

HB 5245: AN ACT CONCERNING FORCED ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS AND ALLOWING CERTAIN COURT ACTIONS TO BE BROUGHT ON BEHALF OF THE STATE: Allows employees to sue their employers for discrimination on behalf of the state after having waived their personal rights to sue by signing forced arbitration agreements. This would be similar the federal False Claims Act that allow private citizens to help recover compensation on behalf of the government for violations of the law.

HB 5356: AN ACT CONCERNING PANDEMIC PAY FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS. Provides “essential workers” with $2,000 pandemic pay for their service during the COVID19 pandemic to be paid from Connecticut’s general fund.

HB 5353: AN ACT CONCERNING A FAIR WORKWEEK SCHEDULE. Requiring certain retail, restaurant, and hospitality employers to provide 14 days’ notice to employees of their work schedules.

We will continue to monitor these bills and provide updates. In the meantime, if you have questions about what you can do to improve your employee retention, please contact a member of Carmody’s Labor & Employment team.

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.