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Labor and Employment Law Changes Connecticut Saw in 2018 (and Some We Might See in 2019)

With strong initiatives making strides across the country like the #MeToo and Equal Pay movements, state and federal legislatures made some big changes in 2018. Connecticut was no exception. Lawmakers in Connecticut made several attempts to pass such progressive laws this year – some panned out, others didn’t. Below is a recap of what’s definitely changing in the new year and what hasn’t changed… yet.

What’s Changed

Pay History Ban
Effective January 1, 2019, Connecticut employers with at least one employee may not ask prospective employees about their past wages or the value of other types of compensation (think: stock options, retirement benefits, health insurance, etc.) at any point during the hiring process. The prohibition does not apply if the prospective employee voluntarily discloses the information or if an employer is specifically authorized to make these employment-related inquiries by a federal or state law. For more information, see our article here. Employers in Connecticut should review their applications to make sure there is no such request and revise their hiring practices as necessary before the new year.

What Hasn’t Changed (Yet?)

Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
Currently, Connecticut employers with 50 or more employees (worldwide) must provide supervisors with sexual harassment prevention training. New supervisors must be trained within six months of their assumption of supervisory positions. The state sets out specific topics to be covered during the training. While not required, covered employers are encouraged to train supervisors every 3 years.

Earlier this year, the Connecticut legislature tried to pass the “Time’s Up Act”, which would have required employers with three or more employees to provide extensive harassment-free training for all employees. The Act would have also added several new categories of mandated reporters in the state and eliminated statutes of limitation for sexual assault crimes. The Act passed in the Senate by a 31-5 vote, however ultimately failed in the House after having received sharp criticism from employers.

Keep an eye on this though. The biggest reason behind the Act not being passed was because many members of the House did not agree with the provisions removing the statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes – not the expanded training requirements. With the #MeToo Movement still full steam ahead, we might see a revival of the Act in 2019, albeit probably with some changes to make it more appealing to House members.

Minimum Wage
Currently, minimum wage in Connecticut is $10.10 and has been since 2017. Early this year, the Connecticut legislature tried to pass a bill that would have raised the state minimum hourly wage from $10.10 to $12.00 on January 1, 2019; from $12.00 to $13.50 on January 1, 2020; and from $13.50 to $15.00 on January 1, 2021. Beyond 2021, the bill would have provided for future annual increases as well.

At midnight on May 9, however, the General Assembly’s regular session ended without a vote on the Bill. Lawmakers are calling the minimum wage bill a “victim of the clock” – perhaps a hint that we could see this bill come back to life in 2019. Stay tuned to see if minimum wage is going to see another hike in the coming years.

Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on federal, state and local employment law compliance. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.