Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5261

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING OPERATORS OF ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES, COACHES AND REFEREES AND THE EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP.

Vote Date:

3/1/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/25/2016

File No.:

42

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Labor and Public Employees Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To classify the employment relationship between coaches and referees engaged in service to certain organized athletic organization as independent contractors.

***Substitute Language (LCO # 2545):

1) Exempts public school intramural or interscholastic athletics and

2) Limits the bill's applicability to unemployment law

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Scott Jackson, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor: Opposes the bill because it would classify coaches and referees as independent contractors and would, therefore, not be covered under the unemployment compensation system or any wage and hourly wage benefits that an employee would receive. There were 95 Audits of athletic organizations conducted over the last three years and revealed that 54% were found to be properly classified as independent contractors. The remaining 46% were found to have misclassified workers that the agency had to reclassify as employees entitling them to u unemployment benefits and other benefits afforded to all other employees.

State Representative Vincent J. Candelora, 86th Assembly District: Supports the bill noting that it will create a law so that no employer-employee relationship would exist between the operator of any organized athletic activity and any individual retained by that operator such as a coach or referee unless both the operator and the individual agree in writing to enter into an employer-employee relationship. The Department of Labor has been conducting audits on youth sports organizations and issuing fines and penalties by classifying sub-contractors such as referees and clinicians as employees rather than independent contractors. If this practice continues the youth sports organizations will not be able to afford the over 30% increase in overhead cost without passing it on to the parents.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Joseph Guerra, President, Soccer Club of Guilford: Supports this bill. Without passage of the bill to effectively remediate the increased costs that the Department of Labor places on sports organizations and non-profits by classifying referees and coaches as employees rather than sub-contractors. This continued practice will create higher costs passed to the parents and the current level of opportunities will decrease for youth athletes.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Adrienne R. DeLucca, Legal Counsel, (CEA) Connecticut Education Association: Opposes this bill as it would impinges upon the rights of local boards of education to negotiate stipend salaries for coaching positions since many of them are held by association members. Section (3) of this proposed bill should also exempt from it purview local Board of Education athletic activities in addition to college or university activities.

Reported by: Joshua F. Quintana

Date: 3/18/16