Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as a salaried employee in Connecticut?

February 1st 2024

Understanding your rights as a salaried employee holds weight and is not merely about knowing the relevant laws. It empowers you to confidently navigate your career path.

As you dedicate yourself to your daily job, your consistent salary and the benefits offered by your employer play a vital role in shaping your position and stability at work. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the specifics of these arrangements can vary significantly from one U.S. state to another.

This article aims to provide clarity on your employment rights, guiding you toward a more informed and empowered work life. The article will specifically focus on the distinct labor regulations in the state of Connecticut.

This Article Covers

Defining a Salaried Employee in Connecticut
Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Connecticut
Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Connecticut
Wage and Hour Regulations in Connecticut
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Connecticut
Taking Action Against Violations in Connecticut
Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Connecticut

Defining a Salaried Employee in Connecticut

What is Salaried Employment in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, a salaried worker is an individual who receives a predetermined and fixed amount of compensation from their employer at regular intervals. Connecticut labor laws require employers to adhere to a specific payday schedule, whether it be weekly, biweekly, or monthly, irrespective of the hours worked by the employee. 

Salaried employment in Connecticut can be categorized into two groups based on eligibility for overtime pay. The first category consists of salaried employees with exempt status. Individuals in this group do not qualify for overtime pay, and their compensation remains consistent even if they work beyond the threshold for overtime hours. This category typically includes professionals, executives, and administrative personnel. In contrast, non-exempt employees in Connecticut are entitled to receive overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours during a work week.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in Connecticut?

Aspect Salaried Employees Hourly Employees
Minimum Wage Laws Paid a fixed amount regardless of hours worked. Subject to the minimum wage in Connecticut of $15.69/hour. 
Overtime Laws Eligibility for overtime varies. Workers are classified exempt under FLSA for certain positions. Eligible for overtime for work hours exceeding 40 hours in a work week. Entitled to 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
Paid Sick Leave & FMLA Salaried pay may include sick leave; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid sick leave and use it with unpaid FMLA leave.
Paid Vacation Salaried pay may include vacation; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid vacation based on hours worked and employer policies.
Maternity/Paternity Leave May have unpaid provisions. The duration and specifics of leave vary by agreement with the employer. No guaranteed paid leave. Leave terms depend on employer’s policies.
Job Security Salaried employees typically enjoy more job security. Less job security and stability as salaried employees.

To learn more about Connecticut Labor Laws,  you can access our guides on your rights as an hourly employee in Connecticut and Connecticut salaried employees laws.

Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Connecticut

What are the Basic Rights of Salaried Employees in Connecticut?

  • Connecticut prioritizes workplace safety, going beyond federal law to protect employees.
  • Employers must offer training, education, and support to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • The state aligns with federal regulations, conducts inspections at construction sites, and responds to worker complaints or safety concerns.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws safeguard employees from discrimination or retaliation when exercising their rights.
  • Grounds for protection include speaking on public matters, reporting law violations, addressing workplace discrimination, and participating in investigations.
  • Background checks are not mandated but are subject to Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations, especially in specific professions.
  • Employers cannot request personal social media information from employees, except in ongoing investigations.
  • Employee monitoring is restricted in personal workplace areas unless agreed upon by both parties.
  • Employers can request drug/alcohol tests with valid concerns, especially in high-risk positions.
  • Sexual harassment training is mandatory for employers with three or more employees.
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) laws ensure healthcare coverage post-termination, with different rules based on insurance type and employer size.
  • Employers must maintain employee records for three years, including personal and wage information, and underage workforce certificates.

Is Overtime Pay Applicable to Salaried Employees in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, it’s essential to understand that not all salaried workers are exempt from overtime. Exemption status for salaried employees is determined based on federal guidelines:

  • Professionals: These individuals have gained advanced knowledge and expertise through years of experience, which they utilize to oversee various departments within their organization.
  • Executives: Executives also possess advanced knowledge and expertise, and they hold the authority to make decisions about hiring and firing employees.
  • Computer Employees: This group includes roles like software engineers, computer programmers, and analysts.
  • Administrative Employees: Individuals in positions related to accounting, quality control, human resources, personnel management, or labor relations are categorized here.

To learn about overtime laws, in details, check out our guide on Connecticut overtime laws.

Can Employers Deduct Wages from Salaried Employees in Connecticut?

No. Employers in Connecticut are prohibited from deducting wages from an employee’s wages other than for items that are specifically allowed and required by federal law and state law.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Breaks and Leaves in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, there are no state-mandated regulations regarding breaks for regular employees. However, salaried employees are provided with a range of leave entitlements. Connecticut employers must adhere to distinct regulations governing their employees’ entitlement to leave.

Leave provisions for employees include various categories, including paid sick leave, jury duty leave with full compensation for the initial five days, two hours of voting time for state and federal elections, leave related to domestic violence and sexual assault, emergency response leave for volunteer firefighters, and emergency responders, as well as leave for organ and bone donation.

Additionally, military leave is mandated, which includes paid time off and laws that protect service members and their families. However, leave provisions for bereavement leave, vacation leave, and holiday leave are not legally mandated for employers in Connecticut.

Can Salaried Employees Request Flexible Work Arrangements in Connecticut?

A flexible work arrangement refers to any work schedule that deviates from the standard 40-hour workweek. In Connecticut, where labor regulations conform to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which does not specifically outline flexible work arrangements, individuals might not be mandated to strictly adhere to the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule.

Connecticut has provisions that accommodate flexible work arrangements. Both employees and employers within the state possess the opportunity to mutually negotiate alternative work schedules. This could encompass the adoption of a compressed work week, permitting employees to work fewer days while still meeting the 40-hour weekly requirement. Moreover, they have the option to explore flex-time arrangements, allowing employees to establish their own schedules, provided that they fulfill the 40-hour weekly commitment.

Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Connecticut

What is the Definition and Implications of Exempt Status in Connecticut?

An exempt worker in Connecticut is an individual who doesn’t qualify for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week. This applies to those who earn a minimum of $684 weekly or $35,568 annually in specific job roles like executive, administrative, professional, computer-related, or outside sales positions, as outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Exempt employees don’t receive overtime compensation, even if they exceed the 40-hour work week. Having a solid grasp of the FLSA and Connecticut labor laws is essential for compliance, as incorrectly categorizing employees can lead to wage disputes and legal repercussions.

What are the Differences Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Salaried Employees in Connecticut?

Aspect Exempt Employees Non-exempt Employees
Overtime Generally not eligible for overtime pay. Eligible for overtime pay for working over 40 hours per week. Entitled rate of one-and-a-half times the standard hourly wage.
Pay Structure Paid on a salary basis. Paid hourly.
Monitoring Hours Not expected to track hours worked. Expected to track and report hours worked
Employee Type Employees who typically hold managerial or professional roles. Job roles vary but may include blue-collar workers, clerical staff, or retail employees.
Compensation Exempt employees typically earn more due to skill and discretion expected. These workers receive an hourly rate with flexibility in scheduling.
Stability Stable paycheck and benefit eligibility. Varied hours, potential for instability.
Paid Time Off May qualify for paid vacation or sick time. Typically, they are not eligible for paid time off.

How to Determine if You're Exempt or Non-Exempt in Connecticut?

To determine whether you qualify as exempt or non-exempt in Connecticut, you can apply the following test to determine your exemption status:

  • Salary Level Test: If your annual salary exceeds $35,568 (equivalent to $684 per week), you may be eligible for exempt classification.
  • Salary Basis Test: If you receive a guaranteed minimum compensation, regardless of the actual hours worked, you may qualify for exempt status.
  • Duties Test: In addition to meeting the requirements of the first two tests, you must also perform job duties falling under exempt categories. These duties include executive responsibilities, which involve supervising two or more employees as a regular part of your job; professional duties, which entail engaging in intellectual activities requiring specialized education and the exercise of discretion and judgment; and administrative duties, which involve carrying out supportive tasks related to significant matters, demanding discretion and judgment.

The above criteria is established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Wage and Hour Regulations in Connecticut

What are the Minimum Wage Requirements for Salaried Employees in Connecticut?

As of January 1, 2024, the state’s minimum wage will be tied to the federal employment cost index at $15.69 per hour. Minors under 18 can be paid 85% of the regular minimum wage during their first 90 days of employment.

How is Overtime Compensated for Salaried Employees in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, when a non-exempt salaried employee works more than 40 hours in a single work week, they’ll receive an overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their usual wage.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Connecticut

What are the Permissible Deductions from Salaried Employee Pay in Connecticut?

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.

What are the Provided Employee Benefits and Protections Under Connecticut State Law?

Connecticut state legislation offers various advantages and safeguards to its employees, ensuring their welfare and rights are upheld. These include:

  • Minimum Wage: Connecticut’s minimum wage is $15.69, exceeding the federal minimum.
  • Overtime Pay: Eligible employees receive 1.5 times their regular wage for hours worked beyond 40 in a week.
  • Paid Sick Leave: Paid sick leave is provided, with accrual rates based on business size.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Employees with work-related injuries or illnesses receive medical benefits and wage replacement, including retraining for permanent disabilities.
  • Unemployment Insurance: Financial support is available to those whose previous employers paid unemployment tax.
  • Protection Against Discrimination: There are existing laws that guard against discrimination on various grounds.
  • Family and Medical Leave: FMLA offers up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave for specific reasons.
  • Whistleblower Protection: Legal safeguards protect employees reporting workplace misconduct.

Taking Action Against Violations in Connecticut

How to Report Violations to Authorities or Labor Departments in Connecticut?

Connecticut’s Wage and Workplace Standards Division investigates labor law violations within employee-employer relationships but lacks authority for issues like wrongful termination, discrimination, unemployment, business expenses, and taxes. They can only investigate unpaid wages within a two-year timeframe from the complaint submission, as per Connecticut General Statute. For wage related issues, you can file a wage complaint with the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Connecticut

Unfair Pay Practices: Connecticut Company Pays $858,191 in Back Wages and Liquidated Damages to 105 Employees.

A federal court has issued a consent judgment and order, compelling six restaurants and their proprietors in Connecticut to disburse a combined sum of $858,191 as compensation to 105 employees. This action comes after an investigation and subsequent legal proceedings initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The restaurants implicated in this case are situated in Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, New Haven, and Westport.

In the court case against six Connecticut restaurants, the verdict, delivered in February 2023, stems from a November 2022 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. In the prior judgment, the court found that the restaurant employers had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and recordkeeping regulations. As a result, they were ordered to pay $251,129 in back wages for overtime breaches, along with liquidated damages, and were forbidden from further contravening the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping rules. Subsequently, the Department of Labor and the restaurant owners reached a consensus, with the consent judgment encompassing not only the previously mentioned issues but also additional outstanding claims related to minimum wage, tip pooling, and further overtime violations. The consensus outlines strict penalties should the employers fail to meet their monetary obligations and requires them to fulfill the total compensation amount of $858,191. 

Lessons Learned from the Case:

  • Compliance with Labor Laws is Vital: This case underscores the crucial importance of adhering to labor laws. Employers must understand and comply with regulations such as the Fair Labor Standards Act to avoid legal repercussions and ensure that employees receive their rightful compensation.
  • Consequences of Unfair Pay Practices: Unfair pay practices, such as violations of overtime and recordkeeping rules, can lead to substantial financial penalties and damages. This case serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences for businesses that do not uphold fair employment practices.
  • Prevention Through Knowledge: As highlighted by District Director Donald Epifano, violations of labor laws are unfortunately common in certain industries. To prevent such violations, businesses should prioritize knowledge and compliance with employment regulations, fostering fair treatment of workers and avoiding costly legal entanglements.

Violation of Wage Laws: Connecticut Company Pays $126k in Back Wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor took legal action against Care at Home, a home healthcare provider, and its owners, Daniel Karp and Suzanne Karp, in April 2018. This action stemmed from an investigation revealing that Care at Home had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime to its home healthcare workers and making improper wage deductions for food and lodging.

On September 17, 2021, a U.S. District Court in Connecticut issued a consent judgment, mandating that Care at Home and its owners pay $126,250 in back wages and liquidated damages to 51 employees within 30 days. Furthermore, on January 7, 2021, the court had ordered the defendants to pay $22,413 in attorney’s fees to the Department of Labor due to their conduct during the litigation’s discovery phase. Unfortunately, the defendants did not comply with these court orders and failed to make the required payments.

In light of the defendants’ noncompliance with the court’s directives, the Department of Labor pursued and obtained a contempt order against them, imposing daily fines of $100 until they complied. Additionally, the Department secured a writ of execution to seize the owed back wages, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees from the defendants’ corporate bank account. The U.S. Marshals Service executed the writ on December 14, 2021, and the recovered funds will be distributed to the affected workers.

Lessons Learned from the Case:

  • Legal Consequences for Noncompliance: Employers who fail to comply with federal wage laws and court orders may face significant legal consequences, such as fines, asset seizure, and legal action for their violations.
  • Importance of Employee Rights: This case highlights the importance of protecting employee rights and ensuring that workers are paid correctly under labor laws.
  • Responsibility of Employers: Employers have a responsibility to understand and adhere to federal wage laws, including paying overtime when required and not making improper wage deductions.

Final Thoughts

As a working professional in Connecticut, it’s essential to recognize the importance of having a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and protections. This knowledge not only safeguards you from potential violations but also empowers you to safeguard your personal interests and career progression.

Staying well-informed about evolving labor laws is vital for cultivating a positive and fair workplace atmosphere. Given the intricacies of employment regulations, seeking advice from a qualified expert, like an employment attorney, reaching out to the U.S. Department of Labor, or contacting the Office of the Labor Commissioner, can provide valuable guidance and steer you in the right direction.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide 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 guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.