Department of Labor
At a Glance
PATRICIA H. MAYFIELD, Commissioner
Linda L. Agnew, Deputy Commissioner
Established - 1873
Statutory authority - CGS Sec. 31-1 to 31-403 (excluding chapter 568)
Central office -
Website - www.ct.gov/dol
Organizational structure - Central Office, Annex Office and 14 statewide CTWorks One-Stop Centers
The Department of Labor is committed to protecting
and promoting the interests of
The Connecticut Department of Labor meets
the needs of workers and employers by assisting them to become competitive in
the global economy. For workers, this is accomplished through income support
between jobs, assistance in searching for jobs, protection and fairness on the
job, training programs, job and career fairs, and information about the
economy, wages and the workplace. Services offered to businesses include
workplace data, labor market information, recruitment assistance and regional
job fairs, programs to help maintain and upgrade employee skills, such as
apprenticeship and customized job training, OSHA guidance and consulting
services, and tax credit information. Informational services to workers and
employers, as well as enforcement responsibilities, include the payment of
wages, health and safety, employment of minors, family and medical leave,
representation by labor organizations, and resolution of labor disputes. As the
Unemployment Services: Unemployment
Insurance (UI) benefits are provided to unemployed persons pursuant to statute.
These benefits are provided while job seekers look for new work or take part in
approved training programs. The DOL now offers the TeleBenefits phone system
and Internet filing for unemployment compensation claims. The Internet filing
method, available in both English and Spanish, also gives claimants access to
their benefit payment histories and the capability to print out the
information. The online system also provides an appeals filing application for
unemployment insurance decisions. An average of 30 percent of all individuals
filing weekly unemployment claims are now using the Internet to file.
Employment Services: The
One-Stop Career Centers helped more than 55,000 residents with their workforce
needs this past year. Located in 14 CTWorks
offices throughout the state,
· Enhancements made to the DOL website continue to increase customer use of the site. Information such as labor market research and data, employment and unemployment statistics, agency job fair schedules, apprenticeship guidelines, veterans’ services, occupational health and safety, workplace laws, and wage and workplace standards also are provided through the website. More than 2.9 million people visited the Labor Department’s website last year, and for the first six months of 2006, the number was already at nearly 1.9 million.
The Career Express mobile workforce center has been on the road for nearly two years, bringing workforce and job skills development services to individuals, employers and schools across the state. This past year, Career Express staff presented workshops to more than 2,200 students on all phases of a job search – résumé writing, career research, applying for a job and interviewing techniques. The Career Express services were also brought to more than 1,310 educators and job seekers, while 49 employers received recruitment assistance. Staff also provided computer and Internet training to approximately 120 veterans at the Veterans’ Hospital during the year.
· Wage and Workplace Standards Division helps promote prosperous and stable workplaces and enforces a wide range of workplace laws including minimum wage and overtime, wage payment, prevailing wage, and the employment of minors. Services also include a proactive educational outreach program where workplace laws and regulations are available to all DOL customers through booklets, pamphlets and the Internet. To provide improved services to local communities, the Division’s teams of investigators were reorganized this year and assigned to specific regions in the eastern, central and western parts of the state.
· State Board of Labor Relations defines and protects the statutory rights of employees including the right of public employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations. The Board also encourages and protects the right of employees and employers to bargain collectively and remedies certain practices on the part of employees and employers that are detrimental to the collective bargaining process and to the general public. More than 90 percent of the cases filed with the State Board of Labor Relations were resolved short of a Board hearing, largely due to successful mediation efforts of Assistant Agents. A total of 664 cases were filed during the year and 699 were closed during this period.
· State Board of Mediation and Arbitration provides mediation and arbitration services to employers and employee organizations in the public and private sector. The objectives of the Board are to save jobs by maintaining peaceful employer/employee relations, and to promote equity between labor and management by resolving labor disputes. This year, the Board successfully closed 987 cases and issued 191 awards.
Office of Apprenticeship Training administers the state’s apprenticeship system for
businesses. Apprenticeship is a long-term (one to four years) proven training
strategy that prepares skilled workers for
Office for Veterans Workforce Development supports the state’s veterans through its staff of
Veterans’ Employment Representatives located at CTWorks offices, as well as various out-stations throughout the
state, including the State Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Through these
efforts, 5,182 veterans were provided with employment services. Veterans’
Employment Representatives also participate in the Transition Assistance
Program (TAP) at the
· Office of Program Policy staff provides legal counsel to DOL’s administration and divisions. This includes technical assistance in unemployment insurance matters to agency adjudicators, written opinions and verbal guidance, and staff training in the application of unemployment compensation regulations. Staff also served as the agency clearinghouse for Freedom of Information requests.
Office of Research
staff provides workforce information to job seekers, students, educators,
business, economic developers, policy makers, and the public. Information on
current employment statistics, unemployment insurance claims, employment
projections, and occupational descriptions is maintained to help job seekers
make educated career choices and assists companies considering expansion as
well as out-of-state firms contemplating relocation to
Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) serves recipients of Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) through DOL’s partnership with Social Services and the Workforce Investment Boards. During the year, approximately 16,500 participants received employment services from CTWorks One-Stop staff and/or through contracted service providers. The program provides job search assistance, occupational skills training combined with adult education when appropriate, subsidized work experience and support services.
· The Enhanced Re-employment Services (ERS) program identifies unemployment insurance claimants who are likely to exhaust their benefits before securing new employment. More than 6,000 individuals attended an ERS orientation session and many participants received more direct, individualized employment services and training to facilitate their return to employment. The goal of the ERS program is to reduce the duration of unemployment.
Job Corps provided
educational and vocational training to low-income youth ages 16-24 (no age
limit for persons with disabilities) to approximately 400 students this year.
The program teaches skills necessary to enter the job market and live on one’s
own. Administered by the U.S. Department of Labor,
· The Employment Security Appeals Division conducts appeal hearings from decisions granting or denying unemployment benefits through two levels of appeals. The first level (Referee Section) decided 19,594 appeals while the second level (Board of Review) decided 2,307 appeals. The Appeals Division continued to exceed the federal mandated quality standards in decision-making.
The Tax Division ensures an equitable tax
program for employers and protects both workers and employers through
enforcement of the Unemployment Compensation law. The Tax Division has expanded
its customer service to the state’s approximately 98,000 businesses by
developing an Internet registration system and a quarterly tax filing system
that includes the ability to electronically pay any monies that are due and
make corrections to quarterly reports.
services were provided to 62 employers and more than 5,700 workers this year.
This included information on unemployment and employment programs, community
services and health insurance options. Rapid Response services are available to
companies that are closing or downsizing and to employees affected by layoffs.
Providing Early Intervention services eases the impact of layoffs and ensures
that workers are aware of the full range of benefits and services available to
them. The DOL heads a team comprised of a partnership of agencies and community
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provides benefits to individuals whose worker group was certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as adversely affected by imports or production shifts to certain countries. Workers who totally or partially separate from affected employment during the specified certification period may apply for TAA benefits. Between July 1, 2005 and June 13, 2006 the following activity took place:
- A total of 1,327 individuals were identified as potentially eligible to apply under certified petitions and 870 of these individuals submitted applications
- A total of 472 individuals were enrolled in TAA training programs.
- Approximately $20,000 was issued for relocation and job search purposes
- A total of $4,418,698 was paid to provide for 13,958 weeks of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA). This included 10,396 weeks of basic TRA services; 3,489 weeks of additional TRA services; and 73 weeks of remedial TRA services. Workers who satisfy applicable program requirements may receive basic TRA, additional TRA and remedial TRA.
· Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA), amounting to $99,772, was provided as wage subsidy payments for workers at least 50 years old who, within 26 weeks of separating from trade-impacted employment, obtained lower paying, full-time work. Under the guidelines, new employment must pay $50,000 or less annually.
· The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), a federal tax credit that pays 65 percent of the qualified health insurance premiums paid by individuals, was provided to 97 individuals. The tax credit is available to TAA and ATAA recipients and administered by the Internal Revenue Service in partnership with CTDOL, other federal and state agencies, and the private health industry.
· CTWorks Business System (CTWBS) is a comprehensive data system developed by the Department of Labor in conjunction with the Office for Workforce Competitiveness and the state’s Workforce Investment Boards. The system supports the operational and management needs of the state in the administration of employment services under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) and the Wagner-Peyser labor system. The system also provides case management services and a Business Contact Management component that allows users to record and track employer contacts and services provided.
DOL’s Business Services Division staff helps
· Alien Labor Certifications handled by the Alien Labor Certification unit totaled 200. This included temporary certifications for foreign agricultural workers (H-2A) and foreign hospitality/retail workers (H-2B). Prior to certification, the unit ensures that employers have exhausted all means to hire American workers before recruiting foreign workers. The unit also handled 2,000 requests for prevailing wages and inspected 100 farms in connection with agricultural certifications.
· The Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers program provided outreach services to more than 100 workers, including information on available workforce services, referrals to healthcare providers and other supportive services. Approximately 50 employers attended DOL’s annual Growers Conference, designed to educate growers on labor guidelines and services available to agricultural employers and farm workers.
· Individual Development Accounts (IDAs): Approximately $2.9 million in funds were administered by the DOL this year for IDA programs to help create self-sufficiency and enhance careers. The DOL received $907,500 in federal funding, $975,000 in state funds, and $1,047,500 in contributions from financial institutions or Community Action Agencies. IDAs are matched savings accounts designed to help low-income individuals and families save money that can be used to purchase assets. The agency administered four federal Assets for Independence Act (AFIA) grants and a CT IDA Initiative, providing 564 IDA accounts statewide. To date, 115 asset purchases have been made. Additionally, 27 participants have reached their savings goals and entered the asset purchase phase of the program.
· The Center for Lean Government made presentations at three national conferences and gained recognition in an industry periodical. Lean staff prepared an article for Industrial Engineer Magazine, outlining a training curriculum created from Lean Manufacturing principals. The curriculum has helped the agency re-engineer more than 430 process steps, automatically reallocating resources and simultaneously saving more than 14,000 worker hours. The Department has realized a cost savings of $1.6 million in worker hours since the inception of Lean principals and practices in 1999. Internally, 18 units have been Lean-trained and use waste reduction procedures on a daily basis. Externally, the Center for Lean Government has helped the Department's partners simplify the way services are delivered to their clients.
The Connecticut Job Bank served more than
150,000 job seekers and 15,000 businesses this year. The electronic job bank,
now in its seventh year of successful operation, is part of America’s Job Bank.
· The DOL contracted with Language Line to provide interpreting services in more than 150 languages while frequently used agency materials were translated to Spanish. Adaptive equipment was purchased, distributed and installed in all 14 CTWorks offices, to make services more accessible for individuals with disabilities.
Program Policy staff
provided procedural guidance on a variety of legal and policy questions within
the agency’s jurisdiction and continued a statewide initiative to improve
quality in adjudication activities. This was achieved through a comprehensive
three-day training program focused on consistency, accuracy and efficiency in
the adjudicative process.
The Shared Work Program was utilized by 77
companies and their employees this year. Shared Work provides companies with an
alternative to layoffs, allowing the employer to retain skilled workers. The
company is able to cut back on the workweek by 20 to 40 percent, and employees
retain a portion of their salary that is then supplemented by partial
unemployment compensation benefits. This year computerized enhancements were
incorporated into the program, allowing the DOL to better serve the companies
and employees who participated in the program.
· The agency has established a Speaker’s Bureau comprised of agency experts who can speak on a wide range of topics relating to employment law compliance, worker health and safety, labor market information, workforce development, unemployment insurance and other issues within the Department’s jurisdiction. Interested associations or civic groups may request speakers via telephone, fax, or through the agency Web site. In its first year of inception, the bureau responded to more than 100 requests.
Employer Roundtable Discussion series attracted between 30 and 40 attendees at
each 90-minute session. The free events feature guest speakers, panel
discussions and an overview of state and federal safety and health regulations
for the workplace.
The DOL’s Employer Education Breakfast Series
attracted up to 60 participants at each event and many of the seminars were
videotaped by CT-N government network station. Topics included
· The Apprenticeship Program increased its outreach efforts with an informational breakfast and photo display held in March at the Legislative Office Building (LOB). Attended by 300 legislators, community organizations, union representatives and apprentices, the event helped to promote the apprenticeship program and its benefits to both workers and employers. The event included informational tables at the LOB staffed by various companies, unions, agencies and organizations that support Apprenticeship’s “Earn As You Learn” concept.
Connecticut Job and Career Fairs brought more than 500 companies and 11,000 job seekers
together as a result of nine regional events. The DOL staff coordinate these
fairs and also assist other state agencies and non-profit organizations with
specialized job fairs, including those focused on jobs for healthcare workers,
veterans or students. Staff in the Job Development Unit have also taken an
active role in planning the Hartford Springfield Economic Partnership’s Fall
2006 College Career Expo geared to inform college students of the many job
opportunities and internships available in
· The Office of Research participated in nine public education programs attended by more than 900 students, employees and employers. Information is geared toward long-term workforce investment strategy and is used to ensure that the state’s workforce investment system is meeting the demands of its business and job seeker customers.
More than 275 job
developers, career development specialists, members of the business community,
school counselors and teachers attended the annual Connecticut Learns and Works Conference, held in May 2006. The
conference is held annually in conjunction with the Connecticut Career Resource
Network, a partnership between the departments of Labor and Education.
· The agency participated in the development and implementation of the first nationwide online learning course for state workforce agency adjudicators. This initiative, which was coordinated by the National Judicial College, brought together unemployment insurance subject experts to develop a curriculum and delivery model for a course designed to educate adjudicators on the best methods of interviewing claimants and employers, weighing evidence, and making decisions. The pilot course was held in February 2006.
Dislocated Worker Grants.
In July 2005, DOL received $1
million in federal funds to serve workers laid off from Electric Boat in
The DOL administers the Workforce Investment Act federal funding, which this year totaled $27.1 million and provided workforce
services to more than 6,300 individuals. Under the guidelines of the federal
legislation, a major portion of the grant is provided to the state’s five Workforce
Investment Boards to offer services at the local level.
· Unemployment Insurance Grants. The agency was awarded $1,288,484 in federal grants to strengthen data integrity and security; detect and recover improper benefit payments; combat identity theft; and promote re-employment for claimants filing for unemployment benefits. The Tax Division installed an automated detection system to strengthen the integrity of tax rates for employers. The division is also expanding its customer service options by having its current Internet quarterly tax filing system to ensure employers do no pay excess wages.
· Agency attorneys handled cases alleging violation of laws within DOL’s jurisdiction, including administrative hearings brought under the state Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The unit received 44 new FMLA complaints and settled 30 cases. One case in which the agency had reason to believe that a FMLA violation had occurred went to hearing with the final decision awarded approximately $38,000 to the complainant. In its first decision interpreting the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the Labor Commissioner applied the correct analytical framework in determining that an employer had interfered with a worker’s right to reinstatement following an FMLA leave. As a result, the court upheld the DOL’s award of more than $500,000 to the employee.
The Office of
Research enhanced its Internet resources, the Connecticut Job & Career ConneCTion (JCC) and the Connecticut Education & Training
ConneCTion. The JCC averages
17,500 visitors per month and offers information on jobs and careers in
· In its goal to protect the identity of its Unemployment Insurance (UI) customers, the agency discontinued the practice of printing the customer’s entire social security number on many of its documents, including unemployment insurance checks. A federal grant to combat identity theft will be used by the agency to enhance its UI operations and technology risk assessment initiative.
from the DOL assisted in analyzing the economic impact of the proposed closure
The agency improved
the orientation process for new
employees in an effort to ensure they receive current, pertinent and consistent
information and feel welcomed to the agency. For existing employees, programs
were developed to help them gain greater insight into career possibilities and
awareness of other units through an agency-wide career fair, job shadowing
opportunities, and mentoring relationships for those employees interested in
pursuing a specific career track. Other programs include providing employees
with an opportunity to research DOL’s various units and the work of other
agency divisions, developing uniform guidelines to measure and evaluate
employee performance, and providing employees with career development resources
and information including how to best complete a state application.
The second annual Gift of
The Office of Diversity and Equity Programs created
a comprehensive Upward Mobility Program for all employees. It has been
complemented with the development of an agency mentoring program.
The Office of Research responds to requests for workforce information from numerous state agencies, CTWorks partners, economic developers, and others for use in assisting companies considering expansion and out-of-state firms contemplating relocation. This includes, but is not limited to, labor force statistics, employment by occupation and industry, wages, and business starts, expansions and closings.
Occupational Analysis Products
A report titled Math & Science Knowledge:
Catalysts for Economic Growth Within Connecticut examines Connecticut’s math
and science occupations in demand, current education issues, knowledge and
skill sets required for the math and science “Jobs of the Future,” and the 100
fastest growing occupations within the state of Connecticut from 2002-2012.
These specialized occupations fuel innovation and growth across the state. The
identification of labor shortages within key industries in the state is
critical to maintaining
on Wages and Hours
The Wage and Workplace Standards Division recovered $6,076,845 in legally due wages for employees. This amount included $2.71 million recovered by wage enforcement agents responding to 3433 complaints, $1.17 million under
Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits paid to unemployed workers totaled $577.1 million. Of that amount, employers paying quarterly UI taxes provided $522.7 million and $54.4 million was provided by non-taxable employers and other programs. Total taxes paid by more than 98,900 employers whose employees were covered by Unemployment Insurance totaled $594.6 million.
· Report on inspections: The Occupational Safety and Health Division (CONN-OSHA) conducted safety and/or health compliance inspections at 243 public worksites, affecting workplace conditions of 7,908 state and municipal employees. Violations were documented in 140 of those inspections, with citations for 172 serious and 421 other than serious violations.
· Report on consultations, training & clinics: CONN-OSHA provided safety and health consultations to 401 private-sector businesses that collectively employ 23,359 workers and to 107 public sector workplaces with a total of 18,571 employees. Additionally, safety training programs and outreach were provided to more than 7,089 employees or employer representatives. A total of $420,685 in state grants were administered to four occupational health clinics and ten auxiliary occupational clinics through its Occupational Health Clinic Program.
Mediation and Arbitration
During the year, a total of 1,013 grievances were filed for arbitration and 1,373 formal grievance arbitration hearings were scheduled, which resulted in 987 cases being successfully closed and 191 awards issued. Expiration notices on 216 private sector contracts were received. In compliance with State Statutes, the Board imposed binding arbitration on 295 municipal contracts and two state contracts. Mediators responded to a total of 285 requests for grievance mediation.