New Employment Laws

October, 2019


Effective October 1, 2019, there are some new laws that will affect employers and employees at the workplace:

  1. Minimum Hourly Wage Increase.

Connecticut’ minimum hourly wage increase will increase from $10.10 to $11.00.  It will increase to $12.00 on September 1, 2020, $13.00 on August 1, 2021, $14.00 on July 1, 2022 and $15.00 on June 1, 2023.  Beginning January 1, 2024, it indexes future annual minimum wage changes to the federal employment cost index (ECI). 

2.Tip Credit.

Also, the new law adjusts the “tip credit” provided by law to employers of hotel and restaurant staff and bartenders who customarily receive tips.  The credit allows employers to count these employees’ tips as a percentage of their minimum wage requirement, thus reducing the employer’s share of the minimum wage as long as the tips make up the difference.  The new law: (1) freezes the employer’s share of these employees’ minimum wage requirement at $6.38 for hotel and restaurant staff and $8.23 for bartenders and (2) requires the tip credit’s value to correspondingly increase to make up the difference between the employer’s share and the act’s minimum wage increases as long as the tips make up the difference.

3.Training Wage.

Starting October 1, 2019, the act changes the “training wage” that employers may pay to certain employees.  Prior law generally allowed employers to pay “learners,” “beginners,” and individuals under age 18 (“minors”) as low as 85% of the regular minimum wage for their first 200 hours of employment.  The act eliminates the training wage exceptions for learners and beginners, and it limits the training wage to be the greater of $10.10 or 85% of the minimum wage and allows employers to pay the training wage to minors for the first 90 days, rather than 200 hours, of their employment.

Starting October 1, 2020, the act prohibits employers from taking any action to displace, or partially displace, an employee in order to hire minors at a subminimum wage rate.  This includes reducing an employee’s hours, wages or employment benefits.

4. New Revisions to Connecticut’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Laws.

As reported in the June, 2019 newsletter, New CT Anti-Sexual Harassment Law.docx, there are wide-sweeping changes to Connecticut’s laws prohibiting sexual harassment at the workplace.

These include:

  1. Punitive Damages, in addition to attorney fees and costs, are now allowed for a court or jury to award a prevailing plaintiff;
  1. Backpay can go back up to two years before a complaint was filed before the CHRO.
  1. The timeline for filing discrimination and harassment claims before the CHRO has been extended from 180 days to 300 days, consistent with current federal law.
  1. All employers, regardless of size, must give supervisors training on state and federal sexual harassment laws and remedies by October 1, 2020.
  1. The CHRO is now authorized to enter an employer’s business during business hours to ensure compliance with posting requirements and to review all records, policies, procedures and training materials maintained by the employer.

Connecticut employers should heed these new changes.

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