Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 391

February Session, 2016

 

LCO No. 2355

 

*02355_______HS_*

Referred to Committee on HUMAN SERVICES

 

Introduced by:

 

(HS)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOUPMENT OF STATE COSTS ATTRIBUTABLE TO LOW WAGE EMPLOYERS.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) As used in this section, section 31-76n of the general statutes and sections 3 and 4 of this act:

(1) "Person" has the same meaning as provided in section 42-133e of the general statutes, except "person" shall not include the state or any department, agency or political subdivision thereof;

(2) "Franchise" has the same meaning as provided in section 42-133e of the general statutes;

(3) "Franchisor" has the same meaning as provided in section 42-133e of the general statutes;

(4) "Franchisee" has the same meaning as provided in section 42-133e of the general statutes;

(5) "Employee" means any individual employed or permitted to work by an employer, but does not include any individual employed in any park, camp or resort that is open not more than six months of the year;

(6) "Covered employer" means:

(A) Any person, firm, business or educational institution that employs five hundred or more employees in the state in any one quarter for quarters commencing on and after January 1, 2016, based upon the wage information submitted to the Labor Commissioner pursuant to subsection (j) of section 31-225a of the general statutes; or

(B) Any franchisor where the franchisor and its franchisees employ, in the aggregate, five hundred or more employees in the state in any one quarter for quarters commencing on and after January 1, 2016, based upon the information submitted to the Labor Commissioner pursuant to section 4 of this act;

(C) "Covered employer" does not include any private nonprofit entity, the state, or any department, agency or political subdivision thereof;

(7) "Low wage employer fee" means any fee assessed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and paid to the state in accordance with this section; and

(8) "Wage" means compensation due to an employee by reason of his or her employment.

(b) Any covered employer that employs, or whose franchisee employs, any employee (1) who was listed on such covered employer's or such franchisee's payroll for at least ninety calendar days prior to the completion of the most recent calendar quarter, beginning with the first calendar quarter of 2017, and (2) whose wages paid by the covered employer, or the covered employer's franchisee, during the quarter were on average less than fifteen dollars per hour, shall pay a fee to the Labor Commissioner. The Labor Commissioner shall calculate the fee by multiplying the fee rate by number of hours during the quarter that such employee worked. The fee rate shall be equal to 0.004 dollars, or four-tenths of one cent, multiplied by the number of employees in excess of five hundred employed in the state by the covered employer directly or in the aggregate with its franchisees; provided in no event shall the fee rate be less than ten cents or greater than one dollar. The fee shall be assessed quarterly based on employee hours worked during the first calendar quarter of 2017 and thereafter.

(c) On January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, "fifteen dollars" in subsection (b) of this section shall be adjusted by an amount corresponding to the prior year's increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, or its successor.

(d) The Labor Commissioner shall deposit moneys collected pursuant to subsection (b) of this section with the State Treasurer, who shall deposit such moneys in the General Fund, and shall report the amount of such deposits to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, human services and appropriations and the budgets of state agencies. Each legislative session, said committees may issue recommendations concerning spending the moneys received to expand or improve services under state programs supporting the quality of and access to state-supported, consumer-directed services for elderly and disabled persons, school readiness programs, the child care subsidy program authorized pursuant to section 17b-749 of the general statutes, child development centers, Head Start, Early Head Start, or other programs to provide child care and early learning opportunities for the children of low wage employees. In making their recommendations, the committees shall consider any recommendations made by the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board established pursuant to section 31-76n of the general statutes, as amended by this act. For the purposes of improving quality of and access to services pursuant to this subsection, moneys received may be appropriated for use by state programs to recruit, retain and offer professional development to a qualified workforce.

(e) Moneys received by the Labor Commissioner, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, may be used for the purpose of administering and enforcing the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

(f) Not later than October 1, 2016, the Labor Commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes for the determination and collection of fees pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. Such regulations shall include the establishment of reasonable penalties or other remedies for failure to file timely reports and for delinquent or unpaid fees assessed pursuant to this section.

Sec. 2. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 31-76n of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There is established the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board. Such board shall advise the Labor Commissioner, the Departments of Social Services and Developmental Services and the Office of Early Childhood on matters related to: (1) The causes and effects of businesses paying low wages to residents of the state, (2) public assistance usage among working residents of the state, (3) minimum wage rates necessary to ensure working residents of the state [may] can achieve an economically stable standard of living, (4) improvement of the quality of public assistance programs affecting such residents, (5) wages and working conditions for the workforce delivering services to low-wage working families, [and] (6) reliance of businesses on state-funded public assistance programs, and (7) recommendations for using the moneys received from the low wage employer fee.

(b) In advising the Labor Commissioner, the Departments of Social Services and Developmental Services and the Office of Early Childhood on the matters described in subdivisions (1) to [(6)] (7), inclusive, of subsection (a) of this section, the board shall:

(1) Study and monitor (A) the causes and effects of businesses paying low wages to residents of the state, including the impact of such labor practices on workers' need for public assistance, (B) the minimum wage rates necessary to enable working residents of the state to meet basic needs, such as food, housing, health care and child care without assistance from state-funded public assistance programs, and (C) the benefits received by employers from the provision of public assistance to the state workforce and solutions to associated problems;

(2) Consider, suggest and review legislative and agency proposals and actions regarding the matters described in subdivisions (1) to [(6)] (7), inclusive, of subsection (a) of this section;

(3) Foster communication between working residents of the state who provide or receive public assistance and employers and state agencies for the purpose of improving the quality of state public assistance programs serving lower-income residents; and

(4) Advise the Labor Commissioner, and other interested state agencies or officials, on policies and procedures related to the board's areas of study, including, but not limited to, public assistance usage among lower-income working residents, the impact of public assistance programs on workforce quality and stability, and the wages and benefits necessary to maintain a stable and qualified workforce to administer and provide services in connection with public assistance programs.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) Any covered employer aggrieved by the Labor Commissioner's determination of fees, pursuant to subsection (b) of section 1 of this act, may file a complaint with the commissioner. Upon receipt of the complaint, the commissioner shall investigate such complaint and may conduct a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes.

(b) The Labor Commissioner may request the Attorney General to investigate any violation of subsection (b) of section 1 of this act. Any information obtained pursuant to such investigation shall be exempt from disclosure under section 1-210 of the general statutes. If the Attorney General finds that a covered employer has violated or is violating any provision of section 1 or 4 of this act, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford in the name of the state against such covered employer.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a fee based on the hourly pay of any employee whose pay was established by a collective bargaining agreement executed prior to the effective date of this section for the term of such agreement.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than January 31, 2017, and annually thereafter, each employer that submits wage information to the Labor Commissioner pursuant to subsection (j) of section 31-225a of the general statutes shall inform the commissioner if such employer is a franchisee. If such employer is a franchisee, such employer shall provide to the commissioner the name and address of the franchisor that granted the franchise to such employer and any other information the commissioner may require.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

New section

Sec. 2

from passage

31-76n(a) and (b)

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

Sec. 4

from passage

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To recoup state costs relating to services provided to workers who earn a low wage.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]