Connecticut employment law updates

Connecticut passed several laws that affect employers. They all take effect on October 1, 2021.

Equal Pay Expansions

Mandatory Salary Range Disclosure
The state’s pay equity law—which applies to employers of all sizes—has been expanded to require wage range disclosure to both applicants and employees. Applicants must be provided with the wage range for the position they are applying for upon their request. If they don’t ask, you must tell them no later than when you provide a job offer that states their rate of pay. Current employees must be provided with a wage range when they are changing positions, whether they ask or not, and upon their first request at any time.

Under the law, wage range means “the range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position.” It can include reference to any applicable pay scale, previously determined range of wages for the position, actual range of wages for those employees currently holding comparable positions, or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.

Pay Equity: Comparable Work Replaces Equal Work
Previously, the state’s pay equity law mirrored the federal law in requiring that employees of different sexes be paid the same for equal work requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility. The law has now been amended to require that employees of opposite sexes be paid the same if they are doing comparable work on a job, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.

This change will make it easier for employees to bring lawsuits against their employers because they won’t have to show that they were doing the exact same job as someone of the opposite sex and being paid less for it, only that they were doing comparable work.

Action Items
If you haven’t done a pay equity audit (in recent history or ever), now would be a good time to consider one. As part of that process, you will likely designate wage ranges for each position within your organization, ensuring that you’re ready for full disclosure. This will help you comply with the new aspects of the pay equity law, as well as talk to applicants and employees about their career progression and opportunities when the subject comes up.

Age and Graduation Date Questions Prohibited

Employers and their agents (such as recruiters) are now prohibited from asking applicants for their age, date of birth, or when they attended or graduated from school, unless there is a bona fide job qualification or it’s required by state or federal law. While experience is often a bona fide job qualification, it should be determined by looking at an applicant’s past work history, not their age or how long ago they graduated.

Action Items
Ensure that any job application forms you use do not ask for date or birth, age, or graduation dates. Also make sure that your managers and anyone else involved in hiring, including third parties like recruiters, know not to ask these questions.

New Requirements for Lactation Space

Connecticut has expanded its lactation accommodation law to require that the space provided for employees to breastfeed or express breast milk meet all the following criteria, unless it would cause an undue hardship:

  • Be free from intrusion and shielded from the public, at least when in use (federal law already requires that the space be private from co-workers as well as the public)
  • Include or be near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold-storage device where the employee can store breast milk (you should allow the employee to keep their milk in the regular fridge or, if you don’t provide a refrigerator, you must allow employees to bring a cold-storage device of their choosing)
  • Include access to an electrical outlet

Remember that undue hardship is defined as significant difficulty or expense.

Some Sexual Harassment Training Good for Two Years

The law requiring sexual harassment training has been amended to allow a new employee’s previous training to count toward the state’s requirements, but only if they were trained within two years before hire and the training was provided by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) either in-person or online. Employees who were trained by a previous employer but received training that was not created by the CHRO will need to be retrained by their new employer within six months of their start date.

Time Off for Voting

Employees who are registered voters must be given up to two hours of unpaid time off to vote in regular state elections. Employers can require up to two working days’ notice. This law applies through June 30, 2024.

Disclaimer:The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.

By Megan Butz
General Counsel, HR Compliance, Checkwriters
Megan joined Checkwriters in 2020 and is responsible for reviewing, revising, and implementing internal policies of the company, advising on human resource, employment, and labor matters, and monitoring and publishing state and federal legal updates to the Checkwriters News and Compliance Center for distribution to thousands of clients around the country. Before joining Checkwriters, Megan served as a judicial law clerk for the justices of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court performing legal research and writing, followed by private practice in Cape Cod.

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