OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE LOSS OF AN OPERATOR LICENSE DUE TO A DRUG OR ALCOHOL TESTING PROGRAM AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
This bill expands the circumstances under which a private-sector employer can discharge or suspend an employee without affecting the employer's unemployment taxes. It creates a “non-charge” against an employer's experience rate for employees discharged or suspended because they failed a drug or alcohol test while off duty and subsequently lost a driver's license needed to perform the work for which they had been hired. (The law disqualifies a person from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year if he or she is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI.)) In effect, this allows the discharged or suspended employee to collect unemployment benefits without increasing the employer's unemployment taxes.
The bill also makes minor and technical changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015
UNEMPLOYMENT EXPERIENCE RATES AND NON-CHARGES
In general, a significant portion of a private-sector employer's unemployment insurance taxes are based on the employer's “experience rate,” which reflects the amount of unemployment benefits paid to the employer's former employees. Typically, laying off employees leads to a higher experience rate and thus higher unemployment taxes for the employer. The law, however, allows several non-charging separations in which an employee can collect benefits without affecting a former employer's experience rate (e.g., voluntarily leaving work to care for a seriously ill spouse, parent, or child).
The bill expands the non-charging separations to include instances when an employee is laid off because he or she lost his or her driver's license because of a drug or alcohol testing program conducted under state DUI laws while off duty, and as a result, is disqualified from performing the work for which he or she had been hired. In these instances, as with all non-charges, the cost of the benefits paid to the former employee are “pooled” and paid by all employers who pay unemployment taxes.
Labor and Public Employees Committee