Better Late Than Never: Labor And Employment Effects Of The State Budget “Implementer”

by Pullman & Comley - Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law
Contact

Pullman & Comley - Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law

While several bills were enacted earlier this year affecting Connecticut employers (see our post on them here), the 2017 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly was not the final word. Due to the lack of a budget, the General Assembly had to convene a “special session.”  Finally, in late October, our long state nightmare was over, with a bipartisan budget enacted and signed by Governor Malloy.

Whenever a budget is enacted, the General Assembly must pass a bill to “implement” the budget” (i.e., the so-called “implementer”). This year’s implementer, which is 881 pages long, contains several provisions that will affect employers (primarily in the public sector).  The following is a brief description of labor and employment provisions in the implementer.

RETIREMENT AND PENSION ISSUES

Out of concern over the State’s mammoth pension liabilities, the General Assembly sought at least to give lip service to addressing this long term issue. In this spirit, Section 109 of the implementer requires the Office of Policy and Management (“OPM”) to annually report a stress test analysis for the teachers’ and state employees’ retirement systems. Section 180 creates the “Connecticut Pension Sustainability Commission”; Section 59 establishes the “Teacher Retirement System Viability Commission” for the purpose of developing and implementing a plan to maintain the System’s financial viability.  Of greater substance and practical effect, Section 559 increases the contributions of public school teachers into the Teacher Retirement System by 1% (commencing in 2018).

WORKERS COMPENSATION

In the same spirit of at least attempting to achieve longer term cost savings (and address issues that affect Connecticut’s competitiveness), Section 179 of the implementer requires the Office of Policy and Management and the Department of Administrative Services to recommend ways to reduce workers’ compensation costs.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES

In this time of reduced aid, the State had to at least consider providing some mandate relief (and potential costs savings) for municipalities. Section 158 of the implementer establishes an irrebuttable presumption that 15% of a municipality’s budget reserve cannot be used to pay for arbitration awards under the Municipal Employee Relations Act (“MERA”).  However, a proposal to revise the “last best offer” system of arbitration by allowing arbitrators the flexibility to issue a ruling different from either party’s last best offer did not make it into the final version of the implementer bill.

Sections 349 through 376 of the implementer describe a process by which financially distressed municipalities may submit to state oversight (via the “Municipal Accountability Review Board”) in exchange for being able to access additional state financial assistance and use existing statutory debt financing tools. In turn, the Municipal Accountability Review Board will be given the same power as the municipality’s legislative body in the collective bargaining approval, rejection, and arbitration process.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING/TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES

The terms and conditions of employment of state employees have been a hot button issue. The State is required to negotiate state employee pension and healthcare benefits with a coalition committee that represents all unionized state employees (i.e., the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition or “SEBAC”). Section 218 of the implementer will limit all future agreements with SEBAC to four-year terms. Section 332 will require the General Assembly to affirmatively vote to approve (as opposed to approving by inaction) state employee collective bargaining agreements and arbitration awards; it will also establish caps on the time allowed for the legislature to debate the approval (or rejection) of collective bargaining agreements and will require arbitration (as opposed to further negotiation) after the legislature rejects an agreement or award.

Section 643 will allow state employees to take seven days of paid leave for donating bone marrow, and 15 days of paid leave for organ donations. This is in addition to other authorized leave.

PAY FOR ARBITRATORS

Section 209 of the implementer increases the additional fee an arbitrator for the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration receives for writing the arbitration panel’s decision from $175 to $500.

PREVAILING WAGE

After years of discussion, there will finally be some long sought modification of the “prevailing wage” statute, which mandates the wage rates (and/or benefits) that contractors working on public works and municipal construction projection must provide to their employees. Sections 566 and 567 of the implementer increase the prevailing wage law thresholds for public works and municipal construction  projects from $400,000 to $1 million for “new construction”; the bill also temporarily exempts certain projects in a certain New Haven County city (Derby) from prevailing wage requirements. Conversely, the implementer will apply prevailing wage requirements to certain Department of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) funded projects (i.e., those projects receiving at least $1 million in DECD assistance).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pullman & Comley - Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pullman & Comley - Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law
Contact
more
less

Pullman & Comley - Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.