Despite objections from the home care industry, legislation that would allow caregivers in one state to poach clients appears to be moving forward after getting support from the governor.

“We strongly believe the health, safety, and comfort of our elderly or persons with disabilities should not be disrupted by an employer limiting their employees with unfair practices,” a spokesperson for Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont told the Hartford Courant. “We look forward to this prohibition becoming state law and ending a practice that diminishes the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable communities.”

The provision, which was written into the Connecticut state budget last minute in the final days of session, bans home care agencies from enforcing any sort of noncompete or non-solicitation agreements with its caregivers.

Noncompete agreements typically prohibit caregivers from working for an agency’s competitors. However, industry leaders usually advise against these types of contracts, deeming them unfair to caregivers.

Non-solicitation agreements, on the other hand, are frequently used in the home care industry. They’re encouraged — and often billed as a way to protect an agency’s clients without hurting caregivers.

Non-solicitation agreements generally ask caregivers to pay a fee if they choose to leave the agency and take a caregiver with them when they go. If passed, this Connecticut provision would make such contracts unenforceable.

In other words, a caregiver could cut the agency who matched them with a client out of the picture with no recourse.

More than 130 home care agencies in the state have formed a coalition to fight the legislation. Opponents have called the legislation bad for home care agencies and the clients they serve. Some have even gone as far as to call the provision “anti-small business.”

“It will harm a growing sector of the state’s economy — something the state cannot afford to do in Connecticut’s current economy,” Mark McGoldrick — who owns six Comfort Keepers offices in the state — told HHCN in an email. “It will have the unintended effect of putting seniors and caregivers at risk, undermine the employer-based model of home care and ultimately generate less revenue to the state.”

Opponents are asking Lamont to change the language of the legislation or veto the line item completely.

Once the governor signs the budget, the provision will become law.

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