Connecticut Employers Have New Burdens, Avoid Others, Following 2023 Legislative Session

While significant bills impacting Connecticut employers were signed into law, proposed employer mandates on pay transparency, paid sick leave, and predictive scheduling failed to gain the necessary votes for passage in 2023. Here are some of the year’s notable legislative developments.

What Passed . . .

Effective October 1, 2023, unless otherwise noted:

  • Amendment to Physician Non-compete Statute – Buried in “An Act Concerning Health and Wellness for Connecticut Residents” are amendments to the physician non-compete statute that change the definition of a physician’s “primary practice site” to require mutual written agreement of the parties. The Act also restricts enforcement of a non-compete where the physician does not agree to any proposed material change to the compensation terms of the agreement prior to or at the time of the extension or renewal of such agreement. The Act also extends non-compete restrictions to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs).
  • Expansion of PTSD Benefits under Workers’ Compensation Act – Expands benefit eligibility for post-traumatic stress injuries to any employee who witnesses the death of an individual or witnesses an individual lose a vital body part while at work. Previously, such benefits were available only to police officers, parole officers and firefighters. Duration of PTSD benefits remains capped at 52 weeks. Effective January 1, 2024.
  • Revision of Non-discrimination Statutes – Revises the state’s non-discrimination statutes to add age as a protected characteristic. Age discrimination in employment was previously prohibited in a separate section. The law also redefines sexual orientation to mean “a person’s identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are romantically, emotionally or sexually attracted, inclusive of any identity that a person may have previously expressed or is perceived by another person to hold.” These changes expand and clarify the protected characteristics under Connecticut’s anti-discrimination statutes. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Penalties for Noncompliance with Mandatory Retirement Savings Program – Amends Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-425 to authorize the State Comptroller to levy fines of between $500 and $1,500 for non-compliance with mandate to make MyCTSavings program available to employees after final notice to employer. Effective upon June 2023 passage.
  • Expansion of Uses for Paid Sick Leave – Expands covered uses to include a “mental health wellness day,” i.e., a day during which the individual attends to their emotional and psychological well-being. Additionally, the law allows a covered employee to use leave not only if they personally are a victim of family violence or sexual assault, but also if they are a parent or guardian of a child who is a victim – provided the employee is not the (alleged) perpetrator – for medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability, obtaining services from a victim services organization, relocating due to family violence or sexual assault, or participating in any civil or criminal proceedings related to or resulting from family violence or sexual assault. Other proposed expansions to Connecticut’s paid sick leave law to apply beyond currently covered service workers were not successful, as discussed below.

. . . And What Didn’t

Perhaps more surprising than what passed was the failure of several hot-button proposals pushed by union and employee advocates. Some of these made repeat appearances in 2023 after failing in last year’s legislative session. Expect some or all to reemerge in next year’s session.

  • Expansion of Paid Sick Leave to all Employees (SB 1178) – Sought to expand the existing law to cover all private sector employees; increase annual accrual from 40 to 80 hours; broaden qualifying reasons to take leave to include public health emergency or quarantine; and broaden the category of family members for whom leave could be used by an employee. A separate proposal supported by the governor to require all employers with more than 11 employees to provide 40 hours of paid leave and those with 10 or fewer employees to provide 40 hours of unpaid leave, also failed to gain traction.  
  • Predictive Scheduling (HB 6859) – This bill would have required employers with more than 500 employees or more than 30 locations to provide 14 days’ notice of employee work schedules in the retail, food service, hospitality, and long-term care industries, “make an effort” to schedule employees for requested days and number of hours, and comply with onerous record-keeping and reporting requirements.
  • Changes to CTFMLA and Paid Family and Medical Leave (SB 1179) – This bill would have expanded coverage to include tribal enterprises and transit districts, as well as prohibit the offset of employer-provided disability benefits where the employee is receiving Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits.
  • Salary Disclosure (HB 6273) – Proposed significant expansion of the requirements for salary disclosure that would have required employers publish salary range and benefits for both public and internal job postings.
  • Limitations on Non-Competes (HB 6594) – Would have invalidated any non-compete agreement if the affected worker: (a) was a non-exempt (hourly) employee; (b) was an exempt employee earning less than three times the minimum wage; (c) was an independent contractor earning less than five times the minimum wage; or (d) the employee left employment for good cause attributed to the employer.

Want the Details?

Littler will conduct a complimentary webinar on August 2, 2023, wrapping up the 2023 session and preparing employers for what to expect in January 2024. Presenters will review the newly enacted legislation and discuss what these new laws mean for employers doing business in Connecticut. There will also be noteworthy discussion of the Clean Slate Act, minimum wage, mandatory retirement savings and what to expect in 2024 concerning pay transparency, non-competes, paid leave and other employment initiatives that are likely to appear once again.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.