Summary Of Labor And Employment Legislation Passed By 2014 Connecticut General Assembly

The 2013-2014 session of the General Assembly passed legislation affecting the workplace. The following is only a short synopsis of the some of the more pertinent laws that were enacted:

Public Act 14-1: An Act Concerning Working Families’ Wages.

This Act increases the minimum wage from the current $8.75 per hour to $9.15 per hour effective January 1, 2015, $9.65 per hour effective January 1, 2016 and $10.10 per hour effective January 1, 2017.

Public Act 14-109: An Act Concerning Credit Checks and Financial Institutions.

This Act took effect on October 1, 2014 amends Connecticut General Statute 31-51tt and adds mortgage servicing companies, licensed mortgage brokers, mortgage correspondent lenders and mortgage lenders to the definition of “financial institution” for the purposes of employer inquiries about employee and prospective employee credit ratings. CGS 31-51tt, which includes private employers, the State and municipalities, prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to consent for a credit report, unless such employer is a financial institution, such report is required by law, or such report is “substantially related” to the employee’s current/potential job. There is no private right of action under this law; the only remedy is a complaint to the Department of Labor.

Public Act 14-217: An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2015.

This Act allows municipalities to issue bonds to pay for unfunded past pension obligations. If a municipality issues such bonds, it must appropriate money for, and contribute to its pension plan, at least the actuarially-required contribution in each fiscal year that it has outstanding bonds for the plan. This Act also makes members of the UConn and UConn Health Center Police Departments “unclassified” state employees, rather than “classified” state employees.

Public Act 14-47: An Act Making Adjustments to State Expenditures and Revenues for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2015.

This Act exempts a portion of state teachers’ retirement system income from the state income tax, by allowing taxpayers to exclude 10% of retirement income from gross income for the 2015 tax year, 25% for the 2016 tax year and 50% for the 2017 tax and subsequent years.

Public Act 14-225: An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee On the Reemployment of Older Workers As They Relate to the Labor Department.

This Act requires an electronic state hiring campaign to encourage the reemployment of workers age 50 or older to be administered through the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website. It requires the DOL to develop by January 1, 2015 a one-page quick reference guide summarizing public and private resources available for unemployed workers age 50 or older within the state, along with an informational campaign.

Public Act 14-128: An Act Creating Parity Between Paid Sick Leave Benefits and Other Employer-Provided Benefits.

This Act, effective January 1, 2015, adds “radiological technologists” to the coverage under Connecticut’s paid sick leave law; allows employers to calculate benefits under the law based on a 365-day period, instead of a calendar year; determines whether an employer meets the 50 employee minimum threshold for coverage under the law based upon the number of employees working on October 1st; prohibits an employer from terminating or transferring any employee solely in order to avoid meeting the 50-employee threshold for coverage.

Public Act 14-9: An Act Concerning The Direct Deposit of Wages.

This Act, effective October 1, 2014, requires employers to arrange with payroll vendors that wages directly deposited into an employee’s accounts be electronically tagged as “wages.” If tagged, these wages become “readily identifiable” and a portion will still be available to the employee if the account is frozen by a creditor.

A few recent cases discussing the “adverse employment action” necessary to maintain an employment claim:

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