February 17, 2022 Higher Education and Employment Advancement Cmte, HB 5030
Written Public Hearing Testimony of
Danté Bartolomeo, Interim Commissioner
Department of Labor
Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee
February 17, 2022
Good morning Representative Elliott, Senator Slap, Representative Haines, Senator Witkos and members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with written testimony regarding House Bill# 5030: AN ACT CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR ADJUNCT FACULTY. My name is Danté Bartolomeo and I am the Interim Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor.
The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) understands that the intent of HB 5030 is to address concerns regarding unemployment benefits for adjunct faculty. In an effort to be helpful, CTDOL had many discussions with the proponents of the bill when it was introduced during the 2021 Legislative Session. CTDOL staff also contacted the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) for their opinion on the language of the 2021 proposal – which mirrors HB 5030. USDOL indicated that the below language in section 1, subsection (3) of HB 5030 is problematic given that it is not in conformity with federal law.
Such information may be considered by the administrator, but shall not, on its own, demonstrate conclusive evidence regarding reasonable assurance in any case. The administrator shall consider the failure of any institution to submit such information as establishing a rebuttable presumption of the lack of reasonable assurance to an individual of performing the services described in subparagraph (A) in subdivision (1) of this subsection during the second academic year or term or during the period following a customary vacation period or holiday recess.
As USDOL noted:
Only the state UC agency can determine if one has reasonable assurance…[the] list cannot be determinative, and the state still must make individual determinations on the existence or non-existence of reasonable assurance… the failure of an educational institution to submit the list as outlined in Section 3 cannot establish a rebuttable presumption of the lack of reasonable assurance.
In addition, as to the list itself, each case is determined on a case-by-case basis, and individual information is only required for individuals who have filed for unemployment benefits. Moreover, the CTDOL’s new system does not have the capacity to process a list, nor would the list constitute employer participation as required by the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this written testimony. CTDOL would be happy to discuss HB 5030 with you further as you deliberate this matter further.
Connecticut Department of Labor • www.ct.gov/dol
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer