Connecticut Labor Laws Guide

Ultimate Connecticut labor law guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.

Connecticut Labor Laws FAQ
Connecticut non-tipped minimum wage: $13
Connecticut overtime laws: 1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($19.5 for minimum wage workers)
Connecticut break laws: 30 minute meal breaks for every 7.5 hours worked a day
Connecticut Labor Laws Guide

Table of contents

Connecticut wage laws

First things first, let’s look at the general minimum wage.

CONNECTICUT MINIMUM WAGE
Regular minimum wage Tipped minimum wage Subminimum wage
$13 $8.23/$6.38 $11.05

Connecticut minimum wage

In effect since August 2021, the Connecticut Wage and Hour Act states the minimum hourly wage requirement is $13. There are some differences for tipped and non-tipped occupations, so we’ll explain that as well.

The increase in the Connecticut minimum wage is already announced and will be:

Tipped minimum wage in Connecticut

We can define tips as certain sums of money that are freely provided by the customers to employees, to serve as recognition of their service.

For someone to be treated as a tipped employee in the state of Connecticut, they must regularly receive gratuities.

In that case, there are 2 categories, according to 2019 legislation:

  1. Hourly minimum wage for bartenders — $8.23
  2. Hourly minimum wage for employees in the hotel and restaurant industry (other than bartenders) — $6.38

These rates, however, do not apply if an employee’s tips combined with the basis ($8.23/$6.38) do not amount to the minimum wage of $13. In such cases, employers are required to make up the difference.

Exceptions to the minimum wage in Connecticut

Here’s a full list where minimum wage requirements don’t apply, referring to any and all individuals employed in the following categories:

Subminimum wage in Connecticut

The state of Connecticut also regulates the minimum wage for employees under the age of 18.

The minimum wage for minors is 85% of the regular minimum wage rate.

There are 3 exceptions to this rule:

Connecticut payment laws

In general, Connecticut employers are required to provide payment for their employees on a weekly basis. The regulations also state that, if a regular payday falls on a non-working day, all payments must be made on the preceding day. 

The only exceptions to this rule are for the employees of:

Deductions to the payroll total can be made only in specific cases, provided that the employee has signed the official form, issued by the Connecticut Department of Labor. 

Some examples of such instances include damaged or lost property, cash shortages, the cost of a uniform or a piece of equipment, etc.

Connecticut overtime laws

Regulations established by the Fair Labor Standards Act define a working week as any seven consecutive working days and a total of 40 hours for this period.

Anything over 40 hours counts as overtime and must be compensated at a higher hourly rate. While many states also have a restriction on daily overtime, Connecticut doesn't specify any number of hours as a daily limit. Meaning — employees can’t expect to be compensated at a higher rate for working more than 8 hours per day.

In Connecticut, overtime is set to 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. For example, currently, the overtime hourly rate for minimum wage employees is $19.5 in the state of Connecticut.

There are some exceptions to this rule and the reasons can vary — underage employees, some specific occupations and industry sectors, etc.

Read on and check out all the relevant categories.

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Overtime exceptions and exemptions in Connecticut

Employees should always try to be well-informed about their rights and responsibilities, to be rightfully compensated for their work. Employers should do the same, to ensure they are abiding by relevant labor laws.

Apart from the fact that more than 8 hours per day doesn’t automatically count as overtime in Connecticut, employees should also know the following — employers are not required to compensate overtime rate for work during the weekends and holidays. 

Following the federal requirements on the overtime exemptions, 4 main categories of employees are exempt from overtime laws — provided they earn at least $684 per week. Such employees are also called the White Collar employees.

The 4 categories of White Collar employees often require a college diploma and include positions in the fields of:

  1. Administration — non-manual work related to business operations, management policies, or administrative training (spending no more than 20% of the time on activities that are unrelated to the position) — such as accountants, HR team members, market research analysts, etc.
  2. Executives — direct supervision and management of 2 or more employees — business, general, and executive managers.
  3. Professionals — positions of advanced knowledge and extensive education, including artists, certified teachers, and skilled computer professionals — such as consultants, developers, engineers, etc.
  4. Outside sales — positions involved with making sales or taking orders outside of their employer's main workplace — outside sales representatives who visit potential and existing customers at their premises.

Besides the federal government exemptions, the state enforces overtime restrictions to the same categories that we’ve mentioned above, in the section regarding minimum wage exceptions. 

The whole list of exceptions to the minimum wage applies to overtime as well, so here’s a reminder of employees who are exempt from overtime. We’re again referring to the people employed in one of the following categories:

In addition to the above-listed occupations, workers in agriculture, automobile salespeople, and drivers (if the US Secretary of Transportation has the power to establish minimum hours of service) are also exempt from overtime.

There are only 2 positions that should be under the exempt category, but are specifically protected — paralegals and nurses, as they are both in the category of professional staff. That means — they are eligible for overtime pay after 40 hours worked in a week.

Connecticut break laws

In the state of Connecticut, employers are required to provide meal breaks lasting at least 30 minutes, after an employee has worked for 7.5 hours consecutively. However, there is an exception to this rule, and we’ll explain it in the following segment.

As for providing the rest breaks, employers in Connecticut are not required to offer them.

Here’s what else employees and employers need to know about break laws in Connecticut.

Exceptions to break laws in Connecticut

There are certain situations when break laws in Connecticut don’t apply. Employers don’t have to offer a required break at all when:

Connecticut breastfeeding laws

Working mothers with newborns who are still breastfeeding must have certain conditions to do so in the workplace.

The statute requires employers to provide an appropriate room or location with a door, to ensure privacy, which can’t be a bathroom stall.

These activities must be performed during an employees’ meal or rest period, if applicable.

As of October 1, 2021, the range of the employers’ obligations to mothers has been expanded, specifically in terms of the location where such activities happen.

The following requirements must be met:

Connecticut leave requirements

Our next segment will cover the situations where an employee wants or needs to take a leave of absence from work. Reasons can vary and include sick leave, but also vacations. 

What are the employers entitled to do and will the Connecticut employees be compensated for their time off? 

Let’s check out rules and regulations regarding required and non-required leave in Connecticut.

Connecticut required leave 

First, we’ll cover the instances where an employee is entitled to take a leave of absence, without suffering any negative consequences upon arrival — i.e. required leave:

It’s important to mention that, in some situations, the employers will need to compensate the employee who has taken a required leave of absence.

Sick leave

Paid sick leave is a requirement for all employers in Connecticut. Any number of employees under 50 requires employers to offer up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave. 

For employers with 50 or more employees, who are classified as service employees, the number of weeks is 16 — but can be paid and unpaid combined. 

The category of service employees refers to all employees who are not exempt from the overtime compensation law. Also, they must be paid on an hourly basis.

There’s another act that regulates paid sick leave, titled the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, or PMFLA, effective January 1, 2022. 

Circumstances under which an employee is eligible to request this type of paid leave include:

Jury duty leave

Employers in Connecticut are not allowed to penalize their employees in any way, for the acceptance of jury duty. The first 5 days of participation in jury duty must be regularly compensated to an employee engaging in that activity. 

Moreover, if an employee has been engaged in jury duty for 8 hours or more, employers are not allowed to require them to come to work that day.

Voting time leave

Employees in the state of Connecticut are entitled to 2 hours of leave to participate in the election of:

In order for time off for voting to be approved, employees must request this time off at least 2 days in advance. This category of time off is strictly unpaid.

Domestic violence or sexual assault leave

According to the PFMLA Act, employees who are victims of family violence must be entitled to paid leave.

What is especially relevant — and an addition as of January 2022 — is how a “family member” is defined. Prior to the PFMLA being in effect, the term had only included parents, spouses, and children. 

Currently, it has been expanded to include:

Emergency response leave

Employers must offer this type of leave to employees who act as volunteer firefighters, ambulance drivers, and other emergency response positions. 

A proof will be required, in the form of a letter from the supervisor or an institution where the employee performed the emergency work.

Organ and bone donation leave

According to the PFMLA Act, employees serving as donors of organs or bone marrow must be entitled to paid leave for this reason.

Military leave 

There are 2 segments that the state of Connecticut requires all employers to provide, when it comes to military duty of their employees: 

  1. Employees who operate as members of the state armed forces must be allowed to go on paid leave when called to duty. For that period of absence, employers must provide all the salaries, benefits, and even promotions that would have taken place if employees were at the workplace.
  2. According to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, employees are allowed to take up to 26 weeks off, if a member of their family was injured in the line of duty, to take care of them.

Connecticut non-required leave

By the state law, there are 3 categories of leave that employers are not required to offer to their employees. This non-required leave includes:

But, the law also doesn’t prohibit or restrict these types of leave. If an employer chooses to offer any or all, the exact terms need to be stated in the signed contract of employment.

Bereavement leave

Employers in Connecticut are not required to offer bereavement leave to any of their employees.

Vacation leave 

Employers in Connecticut are not required to offer vacation leave to any of their employees. If an employer chooses to offer vacation leave and benefits, specific terms and conditions must be stated in the signed contract.

Holiday leave

Employers in Connecticut are not required to offer either paid or unpaid leave for the period of any holiday and celebrations related to it.

Child labor laws in Connecticut

According to Connecticut Child Labor Laws, the term “minors” refers to young people under 18 who CAN be employed, but with a different set of rules and regulations.

Their main purpose is to ensure that education is a priority to minors, while employment is something that only enhances their academic and life experience.

Some of the most relevant limitations regarding the employment of minors are noticed in the following categories:

There’s a complex set of rules and regulations for different age groups of minors — but 2 things can apply to all:

  1. Minors are forbidden to work in any hazardous positions
  2. Minors must have a working permit and/or statement of age

With the exception of emancipated minors, the hourly minimum wage for minors must be at least 85% of the standard rate.

Next, let’s take a look at some rules stated in the Connecticut Child Labor Law.

Specific labor laws for minors

In Connecticut, child labor laws enforce specific rules for certain industries in question. One of the most important distinctions when it comes to the employment of minors is whether the school is in session, or not.

For employment of minors in restaurants, recreational and amusement institutions, theater, retail, hairdressing, bowling alleys, pool halls, photography galleries, manufacturing and the mechanical sector, the following rules apply.

During school weeks:

During non-school weeks:

Minors who are not enrolled in or graduated from a secondary school, there is a slight difference in the limit of working hours.

For the retail industry, it is 8 hours per day, 6 days per week.

For all the others we’ve mentioned above, it is 9 hours per day, 6 days per week, or the total of 48 hours per week.

Prohibited occupations for minors

Apart from regulations restricting the hours of work for specific industries, there are 2 more categories of restrictions that apply to minors.

The first one operates on a federal level and refers to any and all occupations that are declared as hazardous. Here are some examples of hazardous occupations that strictly prohibit employers from hiring minors:

The Connecticut State Labor Department declared many other occupations as hazardous and thereby expanded the list of prohibited occupations for minors. So, here are some state-specific examples of such occupations:

There are many more prohibited occupations for minors in the state of Connecticut, so if this matter concerns you, check out the full list.

Termination laws in Connecticut

As is the case with many other states in the US, Connecticut also institutes an “employment-at-will” policy.

Apart from the reasons we’ve explicitly stated, or will later in the article, employers can terminate their employees’ work engagement anytime, for any reason, or perhaps for no reason at all. 

It’s important to mention that this doctrine also applies to employees — they are free to leave a job for any or no reason with no legal consequences.

On the other hand, if termination of employment happens on a basis of discrimination, that is illegal and punishable. We’ll examine that thoroughly and separately, just a couple of segments later.

Final paycheck in Connecticut

All employees are entitled to receive their final paycheck, which must include all the wages and benefits. 

If an employer decides to terminate someone’s employment, the check must be issued no later than the following business day. 

For employees who quit on their own, they will receive the check on the next regularly scheduled payday.

Discrimination laws in Connecticut

The state of Connecticut boasts the implementation of strict regulations in terms of anti-discrimination. 

There are 2 categories of the prohibited basis of discrimination against potential and existing employees — primary and secondary.

The list of primary reasons of discrimination includes:

The list of secondary reasons of discrimination includes:

Occupational safety in Connecticut

The state of Connecticut ensures that all employees must have a safe working environment. Apart from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, passed by Congress in 1970, the Connecticut Department of Labor provides additional guidance to all employees within the state.

Employers must provide proper training, education, and ongoing assistance to their employees, in order to ensure workplace safety.

The state of Connecticut has adopted all the federal regulations and standards and offers numerous cooperative programs, as well as on-site consultation. 

The main goal is to reduce, or ideally, eliminate the possibility of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. 

Special attention to the enforcement of standards is paid to construction sites, where compliance officers are more likely to visit for inspections. 

Inspections can occur due to various factors, and be both scheduled and unscheduled.

Unscheduled inspections may come as a consequence of worker complaints, imminent danger reports, and in the worst case, fatalities.

Miscellaneous Connecticut labor laws

Apart from the most important categories of laws and regulations, the state of Connecticut enforces some additional laws that may be applicable to your situation.

Here’s what else is regulated by the rule of law in Connecticut:

Whistleblower protection laws

The main purpose of this set of laws is to ensure that employees can exercise all of their legal rights without negative repercussions as a result. 

We’ll list the reasons for which an employee can’t be discriminated and retaliated against, nor can their employment be terminated:

Background check laws

The state of Connecticut does not require or prohibit the employers conducting background checks on their employees — potential and current. 

If they decide to run background checks, employers must ensure they are following all the procedures and requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which operates on a federal level.

While that is the case for the vast majority of occupations, there are several that do require running background checks. Here’s the full list:

Employer use of social media regulations

When it comes to personal social media accounts, employers in Connecticut are not allowed to request the following, from both potential and current employees:

Employees who practice their legal rights mustn't be penalized in any way — discriminated or retaliated against, disciplined, and discharged from employment status.

The only exception to the rule is if there’s an ongoing investigation of that specific employee.

Also, there must be a reasonable belief that such data would contribute to the investigation in a relevant manner.

Additionally, if an employer provides any electronic devices to their employees, or if an employee stores data on the employer’s network, employers have certain rights. 

In such cases, there are no restrictions on employers' access to all information on those devices.

The Employee monitoring law

Employers are forbidden to monitor their employees by all electronic surveillance devices in personal areas of the workplace. 

This includes bathrooms, lounges, and locker rooms. 

The state of Connecticut also regulates all listening devices, in cases of negotiation of employment contracts, which are prohibited as well. 

The only exception involves having a signed agreement that allows such monitoring, from both sides.

Drug and alcohol testing laws

There are certain situations when employers with reasonable doubt can require employees to take the drug and/or alcohol test. 

Employers are also authorized to conduct random drug testing of employees who work in high-risk or safety-sensitive positions. 

Sexual harassment training laws

The state of Connecticut passed the “Time’s Up” Act in 2019, which regulates the segment of sexual harassment training and education. 

According to the Act, employers with 3 or more employees are legally obligated to provide training to new employees within 6 months of their start date. 

Training should last no less than 2 hours.

They also must provide a copy of relevant information regarding sexual harassment and the procedure to follow if such instances occur. 

COBRA laws

Federal COBRA law allows employees to retain health care insurance and benefits after the termination of employment. 

The Connecticut continuation of coverage is regulated like this:

This law can only be applied to employers with over 20 employees. That is the reason why many states have their own version of this law, better known as the “mini-COBRA” regulation.

Mini-COBRA applies to small businesses with 2-19 employees as well and is applicable in Connecticut.

The state of Connecticut’s mini-COBRA allows employers to continue paying health insurance to former employees up to 30 months after the termination date. In Connecticut, a continuation of coverage is regulated in the same way as federal COBRA law is. 

Record-keeping laws

Employers in Connecticut are required to keep the records of all their employees for 3 years.

Here’s a list of what types and categories of information should such records consist of:

Additionally, employers must keep the working certificates for their employees who are minors.

Conclusion/Disclaimer

We hope this Connecticut labor law guide has been helpful. We advise you to make sure you’ve paid attention to the links we’ve provided, as most of them will lead you to the official government websites and other relevant information.

Please note that this guide was written in Q1 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Connecticut labor laws guide. 

We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters. 

Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.