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Measure Giving Laid-Off Workers Priority Consideration in Rehiring Narrowly Passes Connecticut Legislature

  • Connecticut House of Representatives votes 75-70 to approve bill requiring businesses to prioritize rehiring of certain workers they laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Measure aims to prevent businesses from hiring less senior staff to reduce costs, but opponents say it’s too intrusive
  • Employers are required to provide notice of newly available positions to laid-off workers who qualify for the role

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Connecticut General Assembly has narrowly passed a measure requiring employers to prioritize the rehiring of certain workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following approval in the Connecticut Senate in a 19-15 vote, the bill passed the Connecticut House of Representatives in a 75-70 vote.

The bill aims to have companies restore their previous employees instead of attempting to cut costs by hiring less senior staff. Opponents charged that the measure was too intrusive for small businesses. The bill will now go to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk for final approval.

  • The bill requires that employers must notify laid-off employees who are qualified for a newly created position within five days of the job becoming available
  • An employee is deemed to be qualified for a role if they held the same or similar position, of if they will qualify for the job with the same training that would be required for a new employee
  • The amended House bill narrows the definition of a laid-off employee to be anyone who lost their job after March 10, 2020 or before May 1, 2022 due to a lack of business or workforce reduction occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic or Governor Ned Lamont’s public health emergency and civil preparedness emergency declarations; the previously raised bill applied to layoffs through the end of 2024
  • If they held the same or similar position, rehired employees must be restored with same classification or job title and substantially the same duties, compensation, benefits, and working conditions, including a job at “substantially the same employment site”
  • Laid-off workers must accept an offer within five days, but retain the right to accept an available position if they can demonstrate that they’re declining due to a COVID-19 diagnosis received on or before May 1, 2021
  • Employers who decline to rehire a laid-off employee must inform them in writing about the reasons for their decision within 30 days of hiring another candidate; laid-off employees can file civil action if they believe their rights have been violated

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