Substitute Senate Bill No. 1162

Public Act No. 99-123

An Act Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits to Domestic Violence Victims.

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

Subsection (a) of section 31-236 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) An individual shall be ineligible for benefits:

(1) [if] If the administrator finds that [he] 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 [him] 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 [his] such individual's benefit rate. Suitable work [shall mean] means either employment in [his] the individual's usual occupation or field or other work for which [he] the individual is reasonably fitted, provided such work is within a reasonable distance of [his] the individual's residence. [, and, in] In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the administrator may consider the degree of risk involved to [his] such individual's health, safety and morals, [his] such individual's physical fitness and prior training and experience, [his] such individual's skills, [his] such individual's previous wage level and [his] 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 [claimant's] individual's home to or from [his] 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 [his] the individual's former employer;

(2) (A) [if] If, in the opinion of the administrator, [he] the individual has left suitable work voluntarily and without good cause attributable to the employer, until such individual has earned at least ten times [his] such individual's benefit rate, provided whenever an individual voluntarily leaves part-time employment under conditions which would render [him] the individual ineligible for benefits, [his] 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 [he] the individual leaves suitable work (i) for good cause attributable to the employer, including leaving as a result of changes in conditions created by [his] the individual's employer, [or] (ii) to care for a seriously ill spouse or child, or parent domiciled with the individual, provided such illness is documented by a licensed physician, [or] (iii) due to the discontinuance of transportation, other than [his] the individual's personally owned vehicle, used to get to and from work, provided no reasonable alternative transportation is available, or (iv) to protect the individual or a child domiciled with the individual 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 (B) if, in the opinion of the administrator, [he] 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 [his] the individual's employment, just cause, or participation in an illegal strike, as determined by state or federal laws or regulations, until such individual has earned at least ten times [his] the individual's benefit rate; provided an individual who (i) [a person who,] while on layoff from [his] regular work, accepts other employment and leaves such other employment when recalled by [his] the individual's former employer, [or] (ii) [a person who] leaves work which is outside [his] the individual's regular apprenticeable trade to return to work in [his] the individual's regular apprenticeable trade, [or (iii) a person who] (iii) has left work solely by reason of governmental regulation or statute, or (iv) [a person who] 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] During any week in which [it is found by] the administrator finds that [his] 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 [he] the individual is or has been employed, provided the provisions of this subsection [shall] do not apply if it is shown to the satisfaction of the administrator that (A) [he] the individual is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute [which] that caused the unemployment, and (B) [he] 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) [his] 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) [an employer] fails to provide employment to [his] its employees with whom [he] the employer is engaged in a labor dispute, either by physically closing [his] its plant or informing [his] its employees that there will be no work until the labor dispute has terminated, or (ii) [an employer] makes an announcement that work will be available after the expiration of the existing contract only under terms and conditions [which] 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 [he] 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] 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-serviceman] ex-serviceperson in recognition of [his] the ex-serviceperson's former military service, or any service-connected pay or compensation earned by an [ex-serviceman] 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] (Repealed by P.A. 73-140);

(6) [if it is found by] If the administrator finds that [he] 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] (Repealed by P.A. 74-70, S. 2, 4);

(8) [if it is found by] If the administrator finds that, having received benefits in a prior benefit year, [he] 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 [his] 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 it is found by] If the administrator finds that [he] the individual has retired and that such retirement was voluntary, until [he] 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; [provided, if it is found by] except that the individual is not ineligible on account of such retirement if the administrator finds (A) that [he] the individual has retired because (i) [his] such individual's work has become unsuitable considering [his] such individual's physical condition and the degree of risk to [his] such individual's health and safety, and (ii) [he] such individual has requested of [his] such individual's employer other work [which] that is suitable, and (iii) [his] such individual's employer did not offer [him] such individual such work, or (B) that [he] the individual has been involuntarily retired; [, he shall not be ineligible on account of such retirement;]

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

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

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

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

(14) [if it is found by] If the administrator finds that [he] the individual has been discharged or suspended because [he] the individual has been disqualified under state or federal law from performing the work for which [he] 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 [his] such individual's benefit rate;

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

(16) 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 notice for three separate instances within an eighteen-month period and "just cause" means a single act of wilful misconduct in the course of an individual's employment which seriously endangers the life, safety or property of [his] the individual's employer, fellow employees or the general public. For purposes of subdivision (15) of this subsection, "temporary help service" means any person conducting a business which 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.

Approved June 3, 1999

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