Conn. AG seeks information on compensation for laid off Aetna workers‏

Nick Rees Nov. 23, 2009, 5:00pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Aetna, Inc., has been asked by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to provide information about the company's plans to fully compensate hundreds of laid off employees who had accrued vacation, leave time and other benefits.

Aetna, which recently announced plans to lay off 625 employees, including 160 in Connecticut, has also indicated plans for further layoffs in 2010.

"I am deeply concerned that these Connecticut employees are being discharged in the midst of a difficult job market, particularly if they do not receive the full measure of severance and accrued fringe benefits to which they are entitled," Blumenthal said.

Complaints received by Blumenthal's office stated that Aetna only planned on paying the laid off employees with half of their accrued paid leave time, possibly in violation of state law.

State law usually entitles laid off employees to payment in the form of wages for all accrued leave time and other fringe benefits upon termination of employment consistent with company policy or collective bargaining agreements.

Blumenthal is seeking detailed information from Aetna about its plans to compensate the laid off employees for earned leave time as well as information concerning any company policy or agreement providing for payment of accrued fringe benefits. In lieu of that, Blumenthal seeks justification for refusing to provide full compensation.

"Wholly aside from the company's legal obligations and policies, there clearly is no legal impediment to the company compensating laid off employees for the full value of accrued fringe benefits if it so chooses as a matter of good corporate citizenship," Blumenthal said.

He added: "These employees and their families will confront an exceedingly difficult employment market, and need and deserve all the severance compensation and assistance the company can provide."

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