All Employers with 15 or more CT Employees in Specified Industries
July 13, 2021
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Substitute Senate Bill No. 658, signed into law on July 13, 2021 and effective immediately, obliges employers in specified hospitality and business service industries to follow new recall and retention requirements. These new provisions follow in the same vein as a number of other states and municipalities in response to workers impacted by the pandemic.
Covered employers include entities engaged in a hotel, lodging house, food service contractor, or building services enterprise with 15 or more employees. Covered employers are required to extend recall rights to laid-off employees.
Laid off employees are defined as (1) a worker who was employed by the enterprise for at least six of the 12 months preceding March 10, 2020, and (2) whose recent separation from active service or failure to be scheduled for customary seasonal work occurred between March 10, 2020 and May 1, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement are also subject to this bill.
Recall process. Employers must offer available positions to laid-off employees who are either (1) qualified for the position, or (2) could become qualified through the same training given to new hires.
If multiple individuals are qualified, the offer must go to the individual with most seniority at the employment site.
Written notice of the available position must be provided within five days to each qualified laid off employee, sent to the person’s last known physical address or email address, whichever is used most typically by the employer to communicate to staff. Employers are also required to notify the workers by text message if the employer stores cell numbers for workers.
Individuals have five days to accept or reject the rehire offer. Individuals who decline the rehire for reasons related to COVID-19 diagnosed on or before May 1, 2021 will still have rights to rehire for the next available position for which they are qualified.
Employers who decline to rehire a laid-off employee must provide written notice stating the reasons for the decision within 30 days.
Retention protections. Employers may not discharge a rehired employee for 30 days after rehire, except for just cause.
Employers who take adverse actions against a laid-off employee (including terminating or refusing to rehire) must provide a written statement containing the reasons to the worker.
If a rehired employee is laid off again before May 1, 2022, the employer must submit an affidavit containing the reasons for the determination to the Connecticut Department of Labor within 30 days.
Review the text of the bill here.
Consult with labor counsel to develop recall and retention procedures, and when making decisions on hiring or firing covered employees.
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Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.
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