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03/08/2018

Gov. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Wyman Celebrate International Women’s Day, Push for Connecticut Fairness Agenda

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Scott Jackson, and advocates today marked International Women’s Day by pushing for a package of legislative proposals aimed at increasing fairness in the workplace for women and people of color. The legislation, which Governor Malloy first outlined in his State of the State address, focus on ensuring equal pay for equal work, expanding the state’s earned sick time law, raising the minimum wage, and preventing workplace sexual harassment.

“Connecticut has a long history of being a leader in the fight for gender equity, and this year, on this International Women’s Day, we are focusing how we are once again at the forefront of this issue,” Governor Malloy said. “Taken together, these initiatives will make Connecticut a fairer, more equitable state for all people, and it will make our state a better place to work. This is not just good for women – it’s good for business. Making Connecticut a stronger, fairer place to work will make our state a more attractive place to live, improve our workforce, and make our state more competitive.”

“If ever there was a time to come together and make real progress on gender equality, this is it,” Lt. Governor Wyman said. “Here in Connecticut and across the nation, there is a groundswell of support to make wage equity a reality, to open the doors of opportunity in hiring and promotion, to protect victims of sexual harassment, and to generally find a much better balance in our communities, our workplaces, and our government for women and people of color. We know that the cost of inaction is high and all of us – residents, communities, and our economy – pay the price. This legislation is an important step forward for women, for our daughters and granddaughters, and for us all.”

The legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee is holding a public hearing on the four proposals, three of which were put forward by the Governor, today at 2:30 p.m.

Governor Malloy’s proposals include:

House Bill 5044 – An Act Concerning Fair Treatment For Sick Workers

  • Expands Connecticut’s current paid sick leave law to require all employers with 20 or more employees to provide their hourly employees at least 40 hours of paid sick leave, accrued at a rate of 1 hour for each 40 hours worked;
  • Requires employers with 19 or fewer employees to provide their hourly employees at least 40 hours of job protected, unpaid leave;
  • Prohibits employers from requiring employees to find their own replacement when using their paid or unpaid sick leave;
  • Removes the franchise loophole that allows separate entities to be considered a single employer for purposes of determining employer coverage and employee eligibility and instead utilizes the “integrated employer” test;
  • Allows employees to retain earned paid sick time under successor-in-interest laws, as is the practice under Connecticut FMLA;
  • Allows an employee to use their accrued paid or unpaid sick leave to care for a parent;
  • Allows an employee to use their accrued paid or unpaid sick leave to care for a child up to the age of 26;
  • Allows an employee to use their accrued paid or unpaid sick leave to bond with newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child;
  • Allows an employee to use their accrued paid or unpaid sick leave to care for a child, spouse, or parent who is the victim of family violence or sexual assault – current law only provides sick leave if the employee is the victim; and
  • Allows an employee to use their accrued paid or unpaid sick leave if their place of employment or their child’s school or place of care is closed by public health officials due to public health emergency.

Senate Bill 15 – An Act Concerning Equal Pay For Equal Work

  • Helps prevent unintended pay discrimination during the hiring process and is an important step in ensuring fairness and equal pay for equal work, regardless of race or gender;
  • Prohibits potential employers from inquiring about a prospective candidate’s previous salary until an offer of employment with compensation has been offered to the prospective employee. It would not prohibit an employee from voluntarily disclosing their salary history; and
  • Eliminates wage and salary history as a bona fide defense by an employer against a claim of gender wage discrimination.

House Bill 5043 – An Act Promoting A Civil, Fair, And Harassment-Free Workplace

  • Requires all employers with three or more employees to annually communicate to their employees the illegality of harassment on the basis of protected class and the remedies available to targets of such harassment;
  • Extends and enhances awareness and anti-harassment compliance training to any employer with 15 or more employees in pursuit of improved workplace civility; including:
    • Two cumulative hours of training and education to all supervisory employees, no later than 6 months after their assumption of the position;
    • Training and education for non-supervisory employees, not later than 6 months after their assumption of their position; and
    • Periodic, supplemental training that updates all employees on the underlying anti-harassment training and education content not less than every five years;
  • Updates the content of such anti-harassment training to include:
    • Content that encourages bystander intervention, and discussion of workplace civility, including a discussion of acceptable and expected behavior in the workplace; and
    • Types of conduct that constitute and do not constitute harassment and strategies to prevent harassment.

“Sometimes we forget, or purposefully ignore, that our full economy thrives when both employers and employees succeed,” Commissioner Jackson said. “The legislative proposals presented today reflect the Connecticut value that this is not a zero-sum game. We can grow the entire economic pie while making sure that women, families, and businesses have the opportunity to equitably participate in the rising economic tide. Here in Connecticut we stand for fairness in the workplace and fairness to families as the cornerstones of strong, stable communities. Our public policy needs to reflect this ethic, and I am proud to offer my support of these proposals.”

Founded in the early 20th century, International Women’s celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe. This year’s theme, #PressForProgress, recognizes the need to work toward gender parity. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report finds that the world is 200 years away from gender parity.

Governor Malloy has also submitted written testimony to the Labor Committee in support of the aforementioned proposals.

**Download: Governor Malloy’s written testimony to the Labor Committee

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