Gov. Malloy And Lt. Gov. Wyman Applaud Committee Adoption of Workplace Fairness Bills
Governor’s Legislative Proposals on Paid Sick Leave, Sexual Harassment, and Pay Equity
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman are applauding the Connecticut General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee for voting today to adopt a series of reforms the Governor proposed to improve fairness for employees in the workplace, including the expansion of the state’s first-in-the-nation paid sick leave law, an update to existing anti-harassment requirements to better address today’s challenges, and the advancement of measures that will help ensure fairness and equal pay for equal work regardless of race or gender.
“Across our nation, people are having conversations on inequity in the workplace. It is incumbent upon us to make commonsense changes that advance fairness and equality for all workers,” Governor Malloy said. “Today, too many people are falling behind financially, even as they work harder and harder. The gap between the rich and the working poor continues to grow. Too many historically marginalized groups are still subject to harassment, oppression, and unequal treatment in the workplace. I want to thank the members of the Labor Committee for voting today in favor of these proposals that advance our goals of correcting these inequities, and I urge the full legislature to act on these bills so that I can sign them into law.”
“I applaud the Labor Committee for moving these initiatives out for a full vote. They speak to our values as Connecticut residents and the high priority we put on fairness, justice, and dignity in our workplaces, our communities, and in our lives,” Lt. Governor Wyman said. “For too long, women’s economic security – particularly women of color – has been compromised by discrimination. We must continue our efforts to eradicate wage inequality and promote efforts to protect all residents who are working hard to provide for themselves and their families.”
The bills, which the Governor submitted to the legislature earlier this year, includes:
• House Bill 5044, An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Sick Workers: In 2011, under Governor Malloy’s leadership, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to require private sector employers provide paid sick leave to their employees. Today, eight states, Washington, DC, and a growing number of major cities have similar laws. This legislation expands on existing state statutes by:
o Requiring 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;
o Requiring employers with 19 or fewer employees to provide their hourly employees at least 40 hours of job protected, unpaid leave;
o Prohibiting employers from requiring employees to find their own replacement when using their paid or unpaid sick leave;
o Removing 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; and
o Allows employees to retain earned paid sick time under successor-in-interest laws, as is the practice under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act.
• House Bill 5043, An Act Promoting a Civil, Fair, and Harassment-Free Workplace: As brave women and men come forward to tell their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace, people across our nation are having a much-needed conversation on harassment prevention, processes, protections. This proposal seeks to update Connecticut’s existing anti-harassment training requirements to better address today’s challenges. The bill:
o 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;
o Extends and enhances awareness and anti-harassment compliance training to any employers with 15 or more employees in pursuit of improved workplace civility; and
o Updates the content of anti-harassment training to include content that encourages bystander intervention and types of conduct that constitute and do not constitute harassment and strategies to prevent harassment.
• Senate Bill 15, An Act Concerning Fair and Equal Pay for Equal Work: In Connecticut, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. The gap is even worse for minority women – black women in Connecticut are paid 58 cents and Hispanic women are paid 47 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This proposal aims to prevent unintended pay discrimination during the hiring process by prohibiting employers from inquiring about a prospective candidate’s previous salary history until an offer of employment with compensation has been offered to a prospective employee.
The Governor also thanked the Labor Committee for voting today to advance legislation that increases the minimum wage because he believes it is critical that the state continues to have a conversation on this topic.
“We cannot let another January come and go without a raise in Connecticut’s minimum wage for hardworking families,” Governor Malloy said. “We must continue to have a dialogue to advance this topic and be leaders on this issue once again.”
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman