It is common for employees to work beyond their regular hours of work. However, according to Connecticut Labor Laws, employers are required to compensate employees for their overtime.
In Connecticut, you are entitled to time-and-a-half for every hour worked over 40 in a week.
This article will provide information to successfully navigate Connecticut’s overtime regulations, whether you’re an employer aiming for compliance or an employee defending your rights.
This article covers:
- Connecticut Overtime Rates
- Overtime Entitlement in Connecticut
- Overtime for Tipped Employees in Connecticut
- Overtime for Salaried Employees in Connecticut
- Calculating Overtime with Commission in Connecticut
- Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Connecticut
- Statute of Limitations For Unpaid Overtime Claims in Connecticut
- Retaliation for Reporting Overtime Violations in Connecticut
- Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Connecticut
Overtime law in Connecticut is generally aligned with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For any hours worked beyond a total of 40 in one work week, the majority of hourly employees in Connecticut have the right to an overtime pay rate.
Overtime in Connecticut is set at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who work over 40 hours a week. Since the regular Connecticut minimum wage is $15.69 per hour, this makes Connecticut’s overtime minimum wage $23.54 per hour.
According to Connecticut overtime laws, overtime pay is required for any non-exempt employees.
Hourly employees who earn below $684 a week ($35,568 per year) and work in a non-exempt industry are entitled to overtime pay.
However, an employee’s overall eligibility for overtime pay will be based on what the job duties are as well as what type of business they are in.
Read more about Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Connecticut.
Connecticut state regulations allow employers to use a “tip credit” system, that allows them to pay their tipped employees a lower minimum wage. Tipped employees working in restaurants and hotels are entitled to receive $6.38 with a tip credit of $9.31. On the other hand, tipped employees working as bartenders are to be paid $8.23, with $7.46 as tip credit.
However, when it comes to overtime pay, the calculation is based on the full minimum wage without any tip credit deductions.
In other words, employers must consider the full minimum wage amount i.e. $15.69 per hour when calculating overtime pay and cannot factor in tip credits.
Some salaried employees in Connecticut are entitled to overtime. A salaried employee is someone who receives a fixed amount of pay regardless of how many hours they work each week.
To determine their overtime rate, a salaried employee must divide their salary by the number of hours that salary compensates for to get their regular rate. Then, take the regular rate and multiply it by the overtime hours worked and the standard overtime rate of 1.5 per hour.
Overtime Rate for Salaried Employees = Normal rate x Overtime Hours x Overtime Rate (1.5)
Normal Rate = Salary / Hours Compensated
If an employee’s salary covers less than 40 (hours) in a workweek, their regular rate will be added for every subsequent hour working up to the 40. Only after 40 hours will time-and-a-half be counted.
If an employee’s salary covers 40 (hours) in a workweek, then time-and-a-half will be paid for any hours over 40.
Employees in Connecticut who receive commissions are eligible for overtime at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate. Their regular hourly rate must include the commissions earned as well. However, they will only be given half of that rate for every overtime hour.
For example, let’s say an employee works 45 hours a week at a rate of $10/hour and receives $100 in commissions for that week. We need to first calculate the new regular hourly rate.
To do so:
(Total hours x Hourly Rate) + Commission
= (45 x 10) + 100
Then, divide that by the total hours worked in the week.
= 550 / 45
To determine the overtime rate for the commissioned employees, we need to take that new regular hourly rate and halve it.
$12.22 / 2
Since the employee worked an extra 5 hours in the week, that makes his overtime compensation $30.56 ($6.11 x 5 hours).
The amount will vary according to the hours worked, hourly rate, and commission earned.
Both employees and employers need 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
- Automobile salespeople
It’s crucial to stay informed about these laws and exemptions to ensure fair treatment in the workplace.
According to Connecticut law, the statute of limitations for filing a complaint regarding overtime (or other unpaid wages) is 2 years.
For willful violations, the statute of limitations is 3 years.
Employers in Connecticut are not allowed to retaliate against an employee for asserting their rights to overtime compensation.
If an employee chooses to file a complaint or even tell their employer their intentions to file a complaint, they cannot be punished or terminated.
Below, we present law cases relating to fair overtime compensation for employees in Connecticut:
1. Personal Care Service Company Fails to Pay for Employees’ Overtime Hours
In the case of Scalia v. Care At Home, LLC., the Secretary of Labor from the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (the “Secretary”) conducted an investigation into potential overtime wage violations by Care at Home, a company providing personal care services. Daniel and Suzanne Karp were co-owners of Care at Home, but only Daniel Karp was responsible for setting pay rates, work schedules, and other employment-related matters. Despite that, being co-owners of a company still meant that both of them would be at a loss if the company was sued.
The investigation conducted by the Secretary was to prove that Care at Home was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The investigation revealed that Care at Home had paid straight-time wages instead of an overtime rate to caregivers who worked over 40 hours per week. Care at Home had also deducted “food and lodging” expenses from the wages of 24-hour-live-in employees. This was prohibited under the FLSA.
Care at Home failed to produce certain records during the investigation which prevented them from supporting their defense or arguing against the Secretary’s claims. The Secretary seeks to recover overtime back wages and liquidated damages for the affected employees.
Ultimately, the court favors the Secretary and affected employees. Care at Home was ordered to pay $19,301 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, totaling up to $38,603, to the affected employees. Any unclaimed amounts after three years will be deposited into the United States Treasury.
Key lessons from this case:
- Failure to maintain proper records can result in penalties, as the defendants violated the recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA.
- Employers are not allowed to make improper deductions from employees’ wages as it can violate the FLSA.
- If an employee does not claim their back wages within an allocated time, the money will not be returned to the employer but will be given to the United States Treasury.
2. Employees Fired After Complaining About Unpaid Overtime Wages
In the case of James v. Metlife Group, Inc., Tenisha James and Natasha Jarvis filed a lawsuit against their employer Metlife Group (Metlife), an insurance and financial service company. James and Jarvis were employed through a staffing agency, AppleOne, and were assigned to work as Senior Customer Service Representatives (SCSRs) at Metlife.
James and Jarvis alleged that they were not paid for overtime hours they worked and had complained about it to AppleOne. They claimed that their supervisor assigned them a high workload that often required them to work beyond their designated hours. They alleged that they were demanded to complete their work by the end of the day and submit timesheets that omitted any work performed after 4:30 pm.
James and Jarvis contacted AppleOne to complain about the lack of overtime pay. They were advised to complete a written complaint form and provide supporting documentation, which they did. Shortly after their complaint, Metlife decided to terminate their employment. James and Jarvis filed a retaliation claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and argued that their termination was because of their unpaid overtime complaint.
Metlife sought a summary judgment and claimed there was no evidence to prove that they were aware of the complaints made to AppleOne. However, the court denied their motion for summary judgment.
The court concluded that there was enough evidence to suggest that Metlife might have been aware of the overtime complaint before deciding to terminate James and Jarvis. In summary, the court denied Metlife’s motion for a summary judgment. The final ruling of this case is undetermined.
Key lessons from this case:
- Employees have the right to assert their overtime rights without fear of retaliation such as termination.
- To establish a retaliation claim, it is important to prove that the employer knew of the employee’s complaints regarding unpaid overtime.
- Employees working through a staffing agency should effectively communicate their concerns regarding overtime pay to both the agency and the employer to ensure their rights are protected.
- Employers should establish clear performance expectations and communicate overtime policies to employees.
3. Cruise Seaman Seeks Overtime Compensation Despite Being Exempt Under FLSA
In the case of Hanna v. American Cruise Lines, Inc., Rimon Hanna filed a lawsuit against American Cruise Lines (ACL), for unpaid overtime wages. Hanna was an Executive Chef for ACL and claimed that he was entitled to overtime pay.
The main argument in the lawsuit is whether Hanna qualified as a “seaman” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If Hanna is considered a seaman, he would be considered exempt from overtime compensation. ACL argued that Hanna was indeed a seaman and, therefore, was not entitled to overtime pay. On the other hand, Hanna claimed that he performed duties that went beyond those of a seaman.
It was made known that as an Executive Chef, Hanna was responsible for procuring and preparing meals for both the crew and passengers and was an aid in the operation of the transportation vessel. These characteristics fall within the definition of a seaman under the FLSA regulations.
After considering the arguments, the court ruled in favor of ACL. It was concluded that Hanna was indeed a seaman under the FLSA. Ultimately, Hanna’s claim for overtime compensation was dismissed.
Key lessons from this case:
- The character of the work performed by an employee is more important than their job title in determining their status under the FLSA.
- The primary factor in determining seaman status is whether the employee’s work contributes to the vessel’s transportation function.
- Even if an employee spends a significant portion of their time performing non-seaman duties, they may still qualify as a seaman if their overall employment is primarily focused on aiding in the vessel’s transportation function.
Learn more about Connecticut Labor Laws through our detailed guide.
Important Cautionary Note
When making this article we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this article. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this article.