Connecticut Labor Laws

May 11th 2024

This article covers:

What are Connecticut Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Connecticut Non-Tipped Minimum Wage: $15.69
Connecticut Overtime Laws: 1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($23.54 for minimum wage workers)
Connecticut Break Laws: 30 minute meal breaks for every 7.5 hours worked a day

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Connecticut?

Connecticut takes pride in its rigorous anti-discrimination laws, especially when hiring. These laws include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Citizenship and immigration status
  • Genetic information
  • Military or veteran status
  • Spousal or child support withholding
  • Homeless status
  • Marital and civil union status
  • Wage garnishments
  • Credit report and information
  • Arrest records
  • Smoking
  • Natural hair

Like many other states in the US, Connecticut has an “employment-at-will” policy, meaning employers can terminate a worker’s employment at any time with no legal consequences, except in cases of discriminatory firing. Employees also have the right to leave a job for any reason without penalty. In terms of final pay, all workers are entitled to receive their wages and benefits upon termination, with employers required to provide paychecks no later than the next business day if terminating an employee. Those who quit will receive their pay on the next regular payday.  

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Connecticut?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Connecticut that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • Occupational Safety Laws – Connecticut takes workplace safety seriously and has enacted additional guidance beyond federal law to ensure all employees have a safe working environment. Employers are responsible for providing training, education, and ongoing support to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. The state adheres to federal regulations and offers cooperative programs and consultation to achieve the goal of zero harm. Special attention is given to construction sites through frequent inspections, both scheduled and unscheduled. Unplanned inspections can occur when worker complaints, imminent danger reports, or fatalities arise.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – The aim of these laws is to make sure that employees are able to freely exercise their legal rights without facing any negative consequences. In order to achieve this goal, there are several reasons that an employee cannot be discriminated against, retaliated against, or have their employment terminated, including: speaking out on matters of public concern (First Amendment rights), reporting a possible violation of the law, speaking out against or complaining about discrimination in the workplace, exercising their OSHA rights, and participating in an investigation into discrimination.
  • Background Check Laws – Connecticut does not mandate or forbid employers from conducting background checks on their employees, as it is not applicable to most jobs. However, employers who choose to do so must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act‘s regulations and guidelines. Several jobs, notably private investigators, firearm dealers, casino workers, correctional staff, nursing home employees, foster parents, school staff, school bus drivers, and childcare workers, do necessitate background checks.
  • Employer Use of Social Media Laws – Employers in Connecticut are not allowed to request personal social media information from employees such as authentication means, account access in the employer’s presence, or invitations to join groups. Employees must not be penalized for utilizing this legal right, unless there is an ongoing investigation and a reasonable belief that the data would contribute to the investigation. Employers have the right to access all information on electronic devices that they provided to employees or the ones used on the employer’s network.
  • The Employee Monitoring Law – In the state of Connecticut, employers are not allowed to use electronic surveillance devices to monitor their employees in personal areas of the workplace, including bathrooms, lounges, and locker rooms. This even applies to listening devices during employment contract negotiations. The only way monitoring is permissible is if both the employer and employee have signed an agreement allowing it.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – As an employer, you have the right to request that your employees take a drug and/or alcohol test if you have reasonable concerns. Additionally, if your employees work in positions that are considered high-risk or safety-sensitive, you’re authorized to conduct random drug testing.
  • Sexual Harassment Training Laws – Connecticut passed the “Time’s Up” Act in 2019, mandating that employers with three or more employees provide sexual harassment training to new employees within six months of their start date. The training must last at least two hours, and employers must provide relevant information about sexual harassment as well as the steps to take if such incidents occur.
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) Law – When an employee is terminated from their job, they are often left without health care insurance and benefits. However, Federal COBRA law provides a solution to this problem by allowing employees to retain their health care coverage after termination. In Connecticut, this law is regulated, and there are different rules depending on whether the employee was fully-insured or self-insured. If the former, the expanded medical plan lasts 30 months. If the latter, it lasts 18 months. Dental and vision plans last 18 months for all former employees. However, this law only applies to employers with over 20 employees. To address this, many states have mini-COBRA regulations that apply to small businesses with 2-19 employees. Connecticut is one such state, and its mini-COBRA law allows employers to continue paying health insurance to former employees for up to 30 months after termination. This law is regulated in the same way as the federal COBRA law is.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Connecticut employers are obligated to maintain employee records for a span of three years. The records must contain:
    • Employee names
    • Permanent addresses
    • Specific job titles and occupations
    • Total wages agreed upon by parties
    • Overtime pay
    • All wages for each pay period
    • Any additions/subtractions from wages during the designated period
    • Working certificates of underage workforce must be retained by employers

Connecticut Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Connecticut?

Connecticut’s minimum wage, as of 2024, is $15.69 per hour.

In Connecticut, tips are a form of monetary recognition from customers to employees for their service. To be considered a tipped employee, one must frequently receive gratuities. The state legislation categorizes these employees into two groups: bartenders, who have an hourly minimum wage of $8.23, and hotel/restaurant employees (excluding bartenders), who have an hourly minimum wage of $6.38. If an employee’s tips and base pay do not add up to the state’s minimum wage of $15.69, employers are required to pay the difference.

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:

  • Minors working for the government
  • Minors working at farms
  • Minors working over 200 hours for the same employer

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Connecticut?

Here’s a list of employment categories where minimum wage requirements don’t apply:

  • Federal government employees
  • Nonprofit volunteers
  • Military personnel
  • University or college head residents/assistants
  • Bona fide executives/administrative/professional staff
  • Seasonal workers at camps/resorts open for up to 6 months per year
  • Babysitters
  • Outside sales (per FLSA definition)
  • Nonprofit theater staff (in institutions open for up to 7 months per year)
  • Domestic service workers in private homes
  • Employees in a training period lasting no more than 6 months
  • High-salaried employees earning over $375 per week
  • Employees whose employer provides tuition/fees for destination training and reimburses travel costs

What is the Payment Due Date in Connecticut?

Connecticut employers are required to pay their employees on a weekly basis, according to state regulations. This includes payments being made on the preceding day if the regular payday falls on a non-working day. However, there are some exceptions to this rule for employees of private and parochial schools, state-aided institutions, and those with signed collective bargaining agreements. Deductions from payroll can only be made if the employee has signed the official form issued by the Connecticut Department of Labor, and only in specific cases such as damaged or lost property, cash shortages, or necessary uniform or equipment costs.

What are Connecticut Overtime Laws?

The Fair Labor Standards Act has established regulations that define a working week as any continuous seven-day period and a total of 40 hours. This means that any number of hours above 40 counts as overtime and must be paid at a higher rate per hour. Although some states have daily limits on overtime, Connecticut does not mention a specific number. Therefore, employees cannot expect to receive higher compensation for working more than eight hours per day.

In Connecticut, the rate for overtime is set at 1.5 times the regular pay rate, with a current hourly rate for minimum wage employees at $23.54. However, some exceptions to this rule apply, and they can depend on factors such as the employee’s age, occupation, and industry sector. For comprehensive information on your rights to overtime pay, refer to our article What are my overtime rights in Connecticut? 

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Connecticut?

It’s important for both employees and employers to have an understanding of labor laws to ensure fair compensation for work. For instance, in Connecticut, working more than 8 hours a day doesn’t always qualify as overtime. There are categories of people who are exempt from overtime laws. These categories include:

  • Individuals working in administration, executive management, skilled professions that require advanced education, and outside sales
  • Agriculture
  • Drivers
  • Automobile salespeople

It’s crucial to stay informed about these laws and exemptions to ensure fair treatment in the workplace.  

Learn more in detail about Connecticut Salaried Employees Laws and Connecticut Overtime Laws.

Connecticut Time Off/Break Laws

We will be discussing the mandatory breaks and the exceptions from the law in Connecticut.

What are Connecticut Meal-Break Laws?

Connecticut law requires employers to provide their employees with a 30-minute meal break after working for 7.5 hours consecutively. However, there is a single exception to this rule, which will be further explained. It’s important to note that offering rest breaks is not mandatory for employers in Connecticut. If you’re an employee or employer in Connecticut, it’s crucial to be aware of the state’s break laws.

What are the Exceptions to Break Law in Connecticut?

Sometimes in Connecticut, there are exceptions to certain laws regarding breaks. For instance, if only one employee can perform essential work, or if taking a break would pose a threat to public safety, then employers aren’t required to offer a break. Additionally, if the work requires employees to be readily available for urgent matters, they may not be entitled to a break – but they should be compensated for their time. This also applies to shifts with up to 5 employees in certain locations.  

What are Connecticut Breastfeeding Laws?

Mothers who are working and still breastfeeding their newborns require specific accommodations in the workplace. To ensure privacy, employers are legally required to provide a suitable room or location with a door that is not a bathroom stall. These breastfeeding activities should only be performed during an employee’s meal or rest period, if applicable. The employers’ responsibilities towards new mothers have been extended as of October 1, 2021, especially with regard to the location where the breastfeeding activities occur. The employer must now fulfill the following criteria: guarantee access to an electrical outlet, provide a location that is free from intrusion and that is shielded from the public, and allow immediate access to a refrigerator or employer-provided, portable cold storage for storing milk.  

What are Connecticut Leave Laws?

Connecticut provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is Connecticut Required Leave?

Under this section, we will cover the mandatory leaves for Connecticut employers:

  • Sick Leave – In Connecticut, it is mandatory for all employers to provide their workers with paid sick leave. If an employer has less than 50 employees, they are required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave. On the other hand, if they have 50 or more employees who are categorized as service employees, they must offer 16 weeks of combined paid and unpaid sick leave. Service employees include those who are not exempt from the overtime compensation law and are paid on an hourly basis. Effective January 1, 2022, the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PMFLA) also regulates paid sick leave. Under this act, employees can request paid leave in case of a serious health condition, taking care of a close family member in the same situation, or taking care of a newborn or adopted child.
  • Jury Duty Leave – In Connecticut, it is against the law for employers to punish their employees for serving on a jury. Additionally, employers must provide regular compensation for the first 5 days of jury duty. If an employee participates in jury duty for 8 hours or more, the employer cannot force them to work that day.
  • Voting Time Leave – If you work in Connecticut, you’re allowed to take two hours of leave to go vote in state or federal elections, whether you’re voting for a state senator, US senator, congress representative, state representative, or a special election. However, you need to ask your boss for time off at least two days prior to Election Day. It’s important to note that this type of leave is unpaid.
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Leave – As per the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), employees who are victims of family violence are now entitled to paid leave. There’s one key addition now, which came into effect from January 2022, and that’s how they define “family member”. Before this act, the term only included parents, spouses, and children. But now, the regulator expanded it to also include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, parent in-laws, and any individual related by blood or affinity to the employee who the employee shows to have a close association with that is equal to their other family relationships.
  • Emergency Response Leave – It is required for employers to provide a certain type of leave to employees who serve as volunteer firefighters, ambulance drivers, and other emergency responders. To confirm eligibility, a letter from the supervisor or a related institution must be provided.
  • Organ and Bone Donation Leave – As per the PFMLA Act, employees who serve as organ or bone marrow donors should be provided with paid leave.
  • Military Leave – Connecticut law requires employers to provide two specific benefits to their employees in regards to military duty. Firstly, members of the state armed forces must be permitted to take paid leave when called to duty, with their employers being required to provide them with their salaries, benefits, and any promotions that they would have received had they remained at work. Secondly, under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, employees are entitled to take up to 26 weeks off to care for a family member who was injured while on duty.

What is Connecticut Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leaves are as follows:

  • Bereavement Leave – Connecticut employers aren’t obligated to provide bereavement leave to their staff.
  • Vacation Leave – Connecticut employers are not mandated to provide vacation leave to their employees, but they have the option to do so by including the terms and conditions in the employment contract.
  • Holiday Leave – Connecticut employers aren’t obligated to provide paid or unpaid time off during holidays or any related festivities.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Connecticut Child Labor Laws?

In Connecticut, the term “minor” refers to anyone under 18 who can be employed with certain rules and regulations in place. The priority for such employees is to ensure that education remains a focal point while employment is seen as a way to enhance academic and life experience. There are various restrictions in place for minors, including a maximum number of work hours, night work restrictions, and limitations on specific industries. While the rules and regulations are complex and vary by age group, all minors are prohibited from hazardous positions and must have a working permit and/or statement of age. Emancipated minors are the exception to this. Additionally, the hourly minimum wage for minors must be at least 85% of the standard rate.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Connecticut?

Industry During School Weeks During Non-School Weeks
Restaurants 6 hours per day, 32 hours per week 8 hours per day, 6 days per week
Retail 6 hours per day, 32 hours per week 8 hours per day, 6 days per week
Hairdressing 6 hours per day, 32 hours per week 8 hours per day, 6 days per week
Bowling Alleys 6 hours per day, 32 hours per week 8 hours per day, 6 days per week
Photography Galleries 9 hours per day, 48 hours per week 9 hours per day, 6 days per week
Manufacturing 9 hours per day, 48 hours per week 9 hours per day, 6 days per week
Mechanical Sector 9 hours per day, 48 hours per week 9 hours per day, 6 days per week
Note: For minors who aren’t enrolled in school or haven’t graduated from a secondary school, the retail industry sets a limit of 8 hours per day and 6 days per week, and for other industries like photography galleries, manufacturing, and the mechanical sector, the limit is 9 hours per day, 6 days per week, or a total of 48 hours per week.

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Connecticut?

Aside from industry-specific regulations on work hours, there is an additional category of restrictions that applies to minors. The category pertains to hazardous occupations as designated on a federal level. This includes certain jobs that involve:

  • Electrical work
  • Handling flammable or toxic substances
  • Operating machinery
  • Climbing
  • Automotive maintenance
  • Construction
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.