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The 2023 Connecticut Legislative Session included important expansions for employee. The most significant updates are:
Expansion of Paid Sick and Safe Leave. Effective October 1, 2023, Connecticut employees have additional reasons to use the State’s Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law. SB 2 expanded protections for service workers. Service workers can use sick leave for a mental health wellness day or a day where the individual addresses their emotional and psychological well-being rather than working a regularly scheduled shift. Also, service workers can take leave if they are a victim of family violence or sexual assault or if they are the parent or guardian of a child who is a victim to: 1) obtain medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability; 2) obtain services from a victim services organization; 3) relocate due to family violence or sexual assault; or 4) participate in any civil or criminal proceedings related to or resulting from family violence or sexual assault. Employers should update their leave policies and train appropriate personnel as necessary.
Healthcare Professional Non-Compete Agreements Restricted Further. Effective October 1, 2023, physicians’, advanced practice registered nurses’ (APRNs), and physician assistants’ (PAs) non-compete agreements have restrictions. SB 9 further restricted physician non-compete agreements and extended those protections to APRNs and PAs. Now, physician non-competes that are entered into, amended, extended or renewed after the law’s effective date will not be enforceable if: 1) the physician does not agree to proposed material changes to compensation terms prior to or at the time of extension or renewal; and 2) the agreement expires and is not renewed by the employer or the relationship is terminated by the employer without cause. The new requirements do not apply to group practices that are majority owned by physicians and have less than 35 physicians. Now APRNs and PAs have the same statutory protections for non-competes as of the effective date. Employers should consult with their legal counsel to make sure their restrictive covenants comply with the new requirements.
State Health Insurance Offered to Striking Employees. Effective October 1, 2023, Public Act. No. 23-172 will create a special enrollment period for employees whose health care coverage is terminated by an employer because of a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute. It will allow employees engaged in labor disputes to enroll in health insurance through Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange. Previously, employees who lost employer-sponsored health insurance for participating in labor disputes could not enroll in state health insurance programs. The amendment now permits the exchange to offer such employees an enrollment period not otherwise provided by federal regulations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
PTSD Workers’ Compensation Benefits. Effective January 1, 2024, Substitute Bill 913 will expand workers’ compensation coverage to employees with post-traumatic stress injuries. The definition of “employee” will include all employees and not just first responders. The qualifying events for such benefits includes: 1) viewing a deceased minor; 2) witnessing the death of a person or an incident involving the death of a person; 3) witnessing an injury to a person who subsequently dies before or upon admission at a hospital as a result of the injury; 4) having physical contact with and treating an injured person who subsequently dies before or upon admission at a hospital as a result of the injury; 5) carrying an injured person who subsequently dies before or upon admission at a hospital as a result of the injury; and 6) witnessing a traumatic physical injury that results in the loss of a vital body part or a vital body function that results in permanent disfigurement of the victim.
Update of Non-Discrimination Statute. Effective July 1, 2023, HB 6638 adds age as a protected characteristic under the non-discrimination statute rather than prohibiting age discrimination in a separate section. Sexual orientation also has a revised definition as “a person’s identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are romantically, emotionally, or sexually attracted, inclusive of any identity that a persona may have previously expressed or is perceived by another person to hold.”
- Update leave policies for expanded requirements under PSL.
- Review and revise restrictive covenants for physicians, APRNs, and PAs with legal counsel.
- Review and update health and safety procedures to reduce the risk of a PTSD qualifying event.
- Review and update discrimination and harassment policies, if needed.
- Train appropriate personnel on the requirements.
- Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.
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. © 2023 ManagEase