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Senate Bill No. 914

Public Act No. 15-86

AN ACT CONCERNING AN EMPLOYER'S FAILURE TO PAY WAGES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 31-68 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

(a) If any employee is paid by his or her employer less than the minimum fair wage or overtime wage to which he or she is entitled under sections 31-58, 31-59 and 31-60 or by virtue of a minimum fair wage order he [may] or she shall recover, in a civil action, (1) twice the full amount of such minimum wage or overtime wage less any amount actually paid to him or her by the employer, with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court, [and any] or (2) if the employer establishes that the employer had a good faith belief that the underpayment of such wages was in compliance with the law, the full amount of such minimum wage or overtime wage less any amount actually paid to him or her by the employer, with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court. Any agreement between [him] an employee and his or her employer to work for less than such minimum fair wage or overtime wage shall be no defense to such action. The commissioner may collect the full amount of unpaid minimum fair wages or unpaid overtime wages to which an employee is entitled under said sections or order, as well as interest calculated in accordance with the provisions of section 31-265 from the date the wages should have been received, had they been paid in a timely manner. In addition, the commissioner may bring any legal action necessary to recover twice the full amount of the unpaid minimum fair wages or unpaid overtime wages to which the employee is entitled under said sections or under an order, and the employer shall be required to pay the costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court. The commissioner shall distribute any wages or interest collected pursuant to this section to the employee or in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

(b) All wages collected by the commissioner for an employee whose whereabouts are unknown to the commissioner shall be held by the commissioner for three months and thereafter the commissioner may, in his discretion, pay the same, on application, to the husband or wife or, if none, to the next of kin of such employee. As a condition of such payment, the commissioner or his authorized representative shall require proof of the relationship of the claimant and the execution of a bond of indemnity and a receipt for such payment. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 3-60b, any such wages held by the commissioner for two years without being claimed shall escheat to the state, subject to the provisions of sections 3-66a to 3-71a, inclusive.

Sec. 2. Section 31-72 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

When any employer fails to pay an employee wages in accordance with the provisions of sections 31-71a to 31-71i, inclusive, or fails to compensate an employee in accordance with section 31-76k or where an employee or a labor organization representing an employee institutes an action to enforce an arbitration award which requires an employer to make an employee whole or to make payments to an employee welfare fund, such employee or labor organization [may] shall recover, in a civil action, (1) twice the full amount of such wages, with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court, [and any] or (2) if the employer establishes that the employer had a good faith belief that the underpayment of wages was in compliance with law, the full amount of such wages or compensation, with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court. Any agreement between [him] an employee and his or her employer for payment of wages other than as specified in said sections shall be no defense to such action. The Labor Commissioner may collect the full amount of any such unpaid wages, payments due to an employee welfare fund or such arbitration award, as well as interest calculated in accordance with the provisions of section 31-265 from the date the wages or payment should have been received, had payment been made in a timely manner. In addition, the Labor Commissioner may bring any legal action necessary to recover twice the full amount of unpaid wages, payments due to an employee welfare fund or arbitration award, and the employer shall be required to pay the costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court. The commissioner shall distribute any wages, arbitration awards or payments due to an employee welfare fund collected pursuant to this section to the appropriate person.

Approved June 22, 2015