March 8, 2022 Labor and Public Employees Cmte, SB 317
Public Hearing Testimony of
Danté Bartolomeo, Commissioner
Department of Labor
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 8, 2022
Good Morning Senator Kushner, Representative Porter, Senator Sampson, Representative Arora and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding Senate Bill No. 317 - AN ACT CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT FOR STRIKING EMPLOYEES. My name is Danté Bartolomeo and I am the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor.
The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) raises concerns regarding SB 317. The bill seeks to repeal CGS § 31-236(a)(3) and substitute new language. (Section 3 of the bill erroneously refers to 31-226.) Under the current law, individuals who are found to be on strike under the Unemployment Compensation Act, would be ineligible for unemployment benefits for as long as the strike is in place, unless the Administrator determines the existence of a lockout or the workers are permanently replaced by the employer. This bill would permit those same striking employees, if otherwise eligible under the law, to receive unemployment benefits while on strike, after a two-week delay. This policy amendment would result in significant programming and technology system changes.
If this bill were to pass, CTDOL would be unable to implement the technical system changes legislated within until well after Department’s transition to a modernized Unemployment Insurance (UI) system, ReEmployCT, which is scheduled to launch in July 2022. Given the currently scheduled post-launch system testing and enhancements required by multiple 2021 Public Acts, SB 317 UI changes should not be effective until at least 2025.
Further, the changes proposed in SB 317 may affect the solvency of the UI Trust Fund.
Finally, in Section 2, the Department requests that the provision include gender-neutral language.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony. I am available to answer any questions you may have.
Connecticut Department of Labor • www.ct.gov/dol
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer