Monthly Newsletter

EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR NEWS
Mickey Busca, Editor

New 2022 Laws

September, 2022

SUMMARY OF 2022 ACTS AFFECTING BUSINESS AND JOBS

The Connecticut General Assembly enacted certain laws during the 2022 session affecting business and jobs:

Premium Pay Program

To help recognize certain full and part-time employees for working during the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature created the Connecticut Premium Pay program.  From October 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024, the program will provide $200 to $1,000 to eligible applicants, depending upon their individual income and whether the program account is sufficiently funded.

Eligible applicants must (1) have worked the entire COVID-19 emergency; (2) been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination in phase 1a or 1b of the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination program (e.g., health care personnel, manufacturing workers and grocery store workers among others); (3) be private-sector employees; (4) not have been employed in a capacity where they worked from home or could have done so; and (5) have an individual income less than $150,000.  Applicants must submit a claim for program benefits by October 1, 2022. (PA 22-118, Section 143-144).

EMPLOYERS

Captive Audience Meetings

The legislature enacted a law that prohibits employers from penalizing an employee or threatening to do so because the employee refused to attend employer-sponsored meetings, listen to speech, or view communications primarily intended to convey the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters, including decisions to join or support a labor union.

The new law makes certain exceptions that allow employers to communicate information required by law or that the employees need to perform their jobs.  It also exempts certain religious organizations’ speech on religious matters made to their own employees (PA 22-24, eff. July 1, 2022).

Expansion of Antidiscrimination Laws

The legislature passed a new law that revises the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act by:

  1. Subjecting employers with one or two employees to the antidiscrimination laws under the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) statutes, including those that prohibit discriminatory employment practices or workplace sexual harassment;
  • Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of someone’s status as a domestic violence victim in employment and other areas over which the CHRO has jurisdiction;
  • Authorizing domestic violence victims aggrieved by an alleged discriminatory practice to file discrimination complaints with the CHRO; and,
  • Requiring state agencies, within available appropriations, to provide a one-hour minimum training and education on domestic violence and victim resources; and requiring employers with three or more employees to post similar information in an accessible location (PA 22-82, Section 7-21, eff. Oct. 1, 2022; training provision eff. upon passage).

Paid Family Medical Leave Anti-Retaliation

A new law makes it a violation of the state’s paid family and medical leave law (“PFML”) for an employer to (1) interfere with, restrain, or deny any right provided by the PFML or (2) discharge or discriminate against someone for (a) opposing an illegal practice under the PFML or (b) exercising their rights under the PFML.

It also makes it a violation for anyone to discharge or discriminate against someone because they (1) files a charge or started a proceeding the PFML (2) provided information in an inquiry or proceeding related to a right provided under the PFML, or (3) testified in such an inquiry or proceeding (PA 22-118, Section 194, eff. July 1, 2022).

Prevailing Wage Enforcement

The General Assembly changed the penalties for prevailing wage job contractors and subcontractors that knowingly or willfully fail to pay their workers the required prevailing wage.  The new law requires the labor commissioner to issue a citation to these violators and allow the commissioner to impose a $5,000 fine for each violation.  Prior law required the commissioner to issue fines ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.  (PA 22-17, eff. July 1, 2023).

Time Off To Vote

A new law requires employers, under certain conditions, to grant employees unpaid time off to vote in probate special elections, as existing law requires for certain other elections through June 30, 2024. PA 22-129, eff. July 1, 2022).

Tip Credit Claims

The state’s “tip credit” law generally allows employers of certain employees who customarily receive tips to count these employees’ tips as a portion of their minimum wage requirement, thus reducting the employer’s share of the minimum wage.  A new law specifies that any claims brought under the tip credit law or its related regulations after September 24, 2022, must be adjudicated solely under the tip credit regulation that became effective on September 20, 2020, and any amendments to it (Conn. Agencies Reg. Section 31-60-2)(PA 22-134, eff. upon passage).

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