Connecticut Seal

House Bill No. 6715

Public Act No. 09-3

AN ACT CONCERNING CERTAIN STATE PROGRAMS AND THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) At least fourteen days prior to the submission by the Office of Policy and Management of the detailed comprehensive application prepared pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P. L. 111-5, to the United States Secretary of Energy for State Energy Program grant funds, said office shall submit such detailed comprehensive application to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and energy. Not later than seven days after receipt of the Office of Policy and Management's detailed comprehensive application, said committees shall hold a subject matter public hearing on such detailed comprehensive application. At such subject matter public hearing, the Office of Policy and Management shall present testimony concerning the details of such comprehensive application.

Sec. 2. (Effective from passage) (a) Notwithstanding title 38a of the general statutes, in the case of an individual who did not have continuation of group health insurance coverage, pursuant to subsection (b) of section 38a-554 of the general statutes, in effect on February 17, 2009, but who would be an assistance eligible individual, as defined in Section 3001(a)(3) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P. L. 111-5, if such continuation of coverage had been in effect, such individual may elect to continue such coverage provided such election is made not later than sixty days after the notice required under subsection (c) of this section was provided to such individual.

(b) Continuation of coverage elected by an individual pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall commence with the first period of coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009, and shall not extend beyond the period that such continuation of coverage would have been allowed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 38a-554 of the general statutes if such coverage had been elected at the time such individual became eligible to elect such continuation of coverage.

(c) Each insurer and health care center that has issued a group health insurance policy subject to sections 38a-546 and 38a-554 of the general statutes shall, in conjunction with their group policyholders that are employers with fewer than twenty employees, provide notice not later than April 18, 2009, of the election period set forth in subsection (a) of this section to such individuals set forth in said subsection (a).

(d) If an individual elects continuation of coverage pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the period beginning on the date such individual became eligible for such continuation of coverage and ending on the date the first period of such coverage begins on or after February 17, 2009, shall be disregarded for the purposes of determining whether coverage was continuous under subsection (c) of section 38a-476 of the general statutes.

Sec. 3. Section 31-236 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) An individual shall be ineligible for benefits:

(1) If the administrator finds that the individual has failed without sufficient cause either to apply for available, suitable work when directed so to do by the Public Employment Bureau or the administrator, or to accept suitable employment when offered by the Public Employment Bureau or by an employer, such ineligibility to continue until such individual has returned to work and has earned at least six times such individual's benefit rate. Suitable work means either employment in the individual's usual occupation or field or other work for which the individual is reasonably fitted, provided such work is within a reasonable distance of the individual's residence. In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the administrator may consider the degree of risk involved to such individual's health, safety and morals, such individual's physical fitness and prior training and experience, such individual's skills, such individual's previous wage level and such individual's length of unemployment, but, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no work shall be deemed suitable nor shall benefits be denied under this chapter to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept work under any of the following conditions: (A) If the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout or other labor dispute; (B) if the wages, hours or other conditions of work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality; (C) if, as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization; (D) if the position offered is for work which commences or ends between the hours of one and six o'clock in the morning if the administrator finds that such work would constitute a high degree of risk to the health, safety or morals of the individual, or would be beyond the physical capabilities or fitness of the individual or there is no suitable transportation available from the individual's home to or from the individual's place of employment; or (E) if, as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to agree not to leave such position if recalled by the individual's former employer;

(2) (A) If, in the opinion of the administrator, the individual has left suitable work voluntarily and without good cause attributable to the employer, until such individual has earned at least ten times such individual's benefit rate, provided whenever an individual voluntarily leaves part-time employment under conditions that would render the individual ineligible for benefits, such individual's ineligibility shall be limited as provided in subsection (b) of this section, if applicable, and provided further, no individual shall be ineligible for benefits if the individual leaves suitable work (i) for good cause attributable to the employer, including leaving as a result of changes in conditions created by the individual's employer, (ii) to care for [a seriously ill] the individual's spouse, [or] child, or parent [domiciled with the individual, provided such illness is documented by a licensed physician] with an illness or disability, as defined in subdivision (16) of this subsection, (iii) due to the discontinuance of transportation, other than the individual's personally owned vehicle, used to get to and from work, provided no reasonable alternative transportation is available, (iv) to protect the individual, [or a child domiciled with the individual] the individual's child, the individual's spouse or the individual's parent from becoming or remaining a victim of domestic violence, as defined in section 17b-112a, provided such individual has made reasonable efforts to preserve the employment, but the employer's account shall not at any time be charged with respect to any voluntary leaving that falls under subparagraph (A)(iv) of this subdivision, [or] (v) for a separation from employment that occurs on or after July 1, 2007, to accompany a spouse who is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States and is required to relocate by the armed forces, but the employer's account shall not at any time be charged with respect to any voluntary leaving that falls under subparagraph (A)(v) of this subdivision or (vi) to accompany such individual's spouse to a place from which it is impractical for such individual to commute due to a change in location of the spouse's employment, but the employer's account shall not be charged with respect to any voluntary leaving under subparagraph (A)(vi) of this subdivision; or (B) if, in the opinion of the administrator, the individual has been discharged or suspended for felonious conduct, conduct constituting larceny of property or service, the value of which exceeds twenty-five dollars, or larceny of currency, regardless of the value of such currency, wilful misconduct in the course of the individual's employment, or participation in an illegal strike, as determined by state or federal laws or regulations, until such individual has earned at least ten times the individual's benefit rate; provided an individual who (i) while on layoff from regular work, accepts other employment and leaves such other employment when recalled by the individual's former employer, (ii) leaves work that is outside the individual's regular apprenticeable trade to return to work in the individual's regular apprenticeable trade, (iii) has left work solely by reason of governmental regulation or statute, or (iv) leaves part-time work to accept full-time work, shall not be ineligible on account of such leaving and the employer's account shall not at any time be charged with respect to such separation, unless such employer has elected payments in lieu of contributions;

(3) During any week in which the administrator finds that the individual's total or partial unemployment is due to the existence of a labor dispute other than a lockout at the factory, establishment or other premises at which the individual is or has been employed, provided the provisions of this subsection do not apply if it is shown to the satisfaction of the administrator that (A) the individual is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute that caused the unemployment, and (B) the individual does not belong to a trade, class or organization of workers, members of which, immediately before the commencement of the labor dispute, were employed at the premises at which the labor dispute occurred, and are participating in or financing or directly interested in the dispute; or (C) the individual's unemployment is due to the existence of a lockout. A lockout exists whether or not such action is to obtain for the employer more advantageous terms when an employer (i) fails to provide employment to its employees with whom the employer is engaged in a labor dispute, either by physically closing its plant or informing its employees that there will be no work until the labor dispute has terminated, or (ii) makes an announcement that work will be available after the expiration of the existing contract only under terms and conditions that are less favorable to the employees than those current immediately prior to such announcement; provided in either event the recognized or certified bargaining agent shall have advised the employer that the employees with whom the employer is engaged in the labor dispute are ready, able and willing to continue working pending the negotiation of a new contract under the terms and conditions current immediately prior to such announcement;

(4) During any week with respect to which the individual has received or is about to receive remuneration in the form of (A) wages in lieu of notice or dismissal payments, including severance or separation payment by an employer to an employee beyond the employee's wages upon termination of the employment relationship, unless the employee was required to waive or forfeit a right or claim independently established by statute or common law, against the employer as a condition of receiving the payment, or any payment by way of compensation for loss of wages, or any other state or federal unemployment benefits, except mustering out pay, terminal leave pay or any allowance or compensation granted by the United States under an Act of Congress to an ex-serviceperson in recognition of the ex-serviceperson's former military service, or any service-connected pay or compensation earned by an ex-serviceperson paid before or after separation or discharge from active military service, or (B) compensation for temporary disability under any workers' compensation law;

(5) Repealed by P. A. 73-140;

(6) If the administrator finds that the individual has left employment to attend a school, college or university as a regularly enrolled student, such ineligibility to continue during such attendance;

(7) Repealed by P. A. 74-70, S. 2, 4;

(8) If the administrator finds that, having received benefits in a prior benefit year, the individual has not again become employed and been paid wages since the commencement of said prior benefit year in an amount equal to the greater of three hundred dollars or five times the individual's weekly benefit rate by an employer subject to the provisions of this chapter or by an employer subject to the provisions of any other state or federal unemployment compensation law;

(9) If the administrator finds that the individual has retired and that such retirement was voluntary, until the individual has again become employed and has been paid wages in an amount required as a condition of eligibility as set forth in subdivision (3) of section 31-235; except that the individual is not ineligible on account of such retirement if the administrator finds (A) that the individual has retired because (i) such individual's work has become unsuitable considering such individual's physical condition and the degree of risk to such individual's health and safety, and (ii) such individual has requested of such individual's employer other work that is suitable, and (iii) such individual's employer did not offer such individual such work, or (B) that the individual has been involuntarily retired;

(10) Repealed by P. A. 77-426, S. 6, 19;

(11) Repealed by P. A. 77-426, S. 6, 19;

(12) Repealed by P. A. 77-426, S. 17, 19;

(13) If the administrator finds that, having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of thirty days or longer and having commenced serving such sentence, the individual has been discharged or suspended during such period of imprisonment, until such individual has earned at least ten times such individual's benefit rate;

(14) If the administrator finds that the individual has been discharged or suspended because the individual has been disqualified under state or federal law from performing the work for which such individual was hired as a result of a drug or alcohol testing program mandated by and conducted in accordance with such law, until such individual has earned at least ten times such individual's benefit rate;

(15) If the individual is a temporary employee of a temporary help service and the individual refuses to accept suitable employment when it is offered by such service upon completion of an assignment until such individual has earned at least six times such individual's benefit rate; and

(16) For purposes of subparagraph (A)(ii) of subdivision (2) of this subsection, "illness or disability" means an illness or disability diagnosed by a health care provider that necessitates care for the ill or disabled person for a period of time longer than the employer is willing to grant leave, paid or otherwise, and "health care provider" means (A) a doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery by the state in which the doctor practices; (B) a podiatrist, dentist, psychologist, optometrist or chiropractor authorized to practice by the state in which such person practices and performs within the scope of the authorized practice; (C) an advanced practice registered nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or clinical social worker authorized to practice by the state in which such person practices and performs within the scope of the authorized practice; (D) Christian Science practitioners listed with the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts; (E) any medical practitioner from whom an employer or a group health plan's benefits manager will accept certification of the existence of a serious health condition to substantiate a claim for benefits; (F) a medical practitioner, in a practice enumerated in subparagraphs (A) to (E), inclusive, of this subdivision, who practices in a country other than the United States, who is licensed to practice in accordance with the laws and regulations of that country; or (G) such other health care provider as the Labor Commissioner approves, performing within the scope of the authorized practice. For purposes of subparagraph (B) of subdivision (2) of this subsection, "wilful misconduct" means deliberate misconduct in wilful disregard of the employer's interest, or a single knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, when reasonably applied, provided such violation is not a result of the employee's incompetence and provided further, in the case of absence from work, "wilful misconduct" means an employee must be absent without either good cause for the absence or notice to the employer which the employee could reasonably have provided under the circumstances for three separate instances within a twelve-month period. Except with respect to tardiness, for purposes of subparagraph (B) of subdivision (2) of this subsection, each instance in which an employee is absent for one day or two consecutive days without either good cause for the absence or notice to the employer which the employee could reasonably have provided under the circumstances constitutes a "separate instance". For purposes of subdivision (15) of this subsection, "temporary help service" means any person conducting a business that consists of employing individuals directly for the purpose of furnishing part-time or temporary help to others; and "temporary employee" means an employee assigned to work for a client of a temporary help service.

(b) Any individual who has voluntarily left part-time employment under conditions which would otherwise render him ineligible for benefits pursuant to subparagraph (A) of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section, who has not earned ten times his benefit rate since such separation and who is otherwise eligible for benefits shall be eligible to receive benefits only as follows: (1) If such separation from the individual's part-time employment precedes a compensable separation, under the provisions of this chapter, from his full-time employment, he shall be eligible to receive an amount equal to the benefits attributable solely to the wages paid to him for any employment during his base period other than such part-time employment; or (2) if such separation from the individual's part-time employment follows a compensable separation, under the provisions of this chapter, from his full-time employment, he shall be eligible to receive an amount equal to the lesser of the partial unemployment benefits he would have received under section 31-229 but for such separation from his part-time employment or the partial unemployment benefits for which he would be eligible under section 31-229 based on any subsequent part-time employment. In no event may the employer who provided such part-time employment for the individual be charged for any benefits paid pursuant to the subsection. For purposes of this subsection, "full-time employment" means any job normally requiring thirty-five hours or more of service each week, and "part-time employment" means any job normally requiring less than thirty-five hours of service each week.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) Any payment made pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P. L. 111-5, to an individual who is an applicant for or recipient of benefits or services under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with state funds that provides such benefits or services based on need shall not be counted as income, nor shall any such payment be counted as resources for the month of receipt or the following two months, for the purpose of determining the individual's or any other individual's eligibility for such benefits or services or the amount of such benefits or services.

(b) Any such payment shall not be counted as income for purposes of determining the eligibility for, or the benefit level of, such individual under any property tax exemption, property tax credit or rental rebate program financed in whole or in part with state funds, nor shall such payment be counted as income for purposes of any property tax relief program that a municipality may, at its option, offer.

Approved April 15, 2009