An Overview of Connecticut Labor Laws
Like other states, Connecticut has set detailed labor laws that employers must follow.
If they don’t, then they open themselves up to legal liability and can be sued.
Contact our experienced Connecticut employment law attorneys today if you have any questions. We’d be happy to help you.
All Connecticut workers should be familiar with the state’s labor laws, which exist on top of federal laws and provide additional protections.
In this blog post, we provide a summary of essential CT labor laws.
Connecticut Wage & Hour Laws
Connecticut labor laws deal with the relationship between employers and employees. In Connecticut, employers have a responsibility to follow federal and state labor laws.
Sometimes, employees may be unaware of their rights or may fear retaliation for speaking out about unfair labor practices.
Minimum Wage Laws
In September 2020, Connecticut minimum wage increased to $12.00 per hour. Employers have a legal obligation to pay certain employees overtime pay for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek.
Overtime pay in Connecticut equates to 1-½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
CT overtime laws dictate no requirement for employers to pay more for daily overtime, weekends, or holidays except by separate agreement.
Employees exempt from qualifying for overtime pay include the following:
- Agricultural employees;
- Executive, administrative, and professional employees;
- Automobile salespeople; and
- Outside salespeople defined by the Fair Standards Labor Act.
All employers in Connecticut must strictly adhere to minimum wage laws.
Meals and Breaks
CT labor laws generally follow federal regulations regarding employee meal and rest breaks. CT employee rights include 30-minute meal breaks for employees working a minimum of 7.5 (seven and a half) consecutive hours. These meal breaks are unpaid, but it cannot be interrupted, and the employee cannot be expected to work.
Some exemptions apply, such as if the job can be performed by only one person or fewer than 5 people are employed on that shift.
If employers provide for paid rest breaks, the aforementioned 30-minute meal break is not required. Alternative options exist in place of the unpaid 30-minute meal break. Employers may instead provide for a total of 30 minutes of rest time for each consecutive seven-and-a-half hour work period.
Is Connecticut an At-Will State?
Yes, Connecticut is an at-will state.
At-will employment gives employers the right to terminate the employment of any worker under most circumstances. However, termination of employment based on discriminatory reasons such as race, religion, gender, age, disability, or military service is illegal. Additionally, employers may not terminate an employee for taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA protects employees from penalization due to medical leave for certain scenarios.
Retaliatory termination against employees filing sexual harassment claims, workers’ compensation claims, or other reports, is also strictly prohibited.
Connecticut employees generally have no rights to severance pay.
However, if a separate agreement exists between you and your employer providing for severance pay, your employer must pay according to those terms. Severance pay in agreements is usually based on years of service and base salary rate.
Employees should look to their collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts, which might provide for severance. They should also check any employee manuals or handbooks, which can create binding legal obligations in certain situations.
Vacation and Sick Leave
CT state labor laws do not require an employer to provide vacation time to an employee, and federal law does not require vacation time, either.
Workers should check their employment contracts, collective bargaining agreements, and employment letter to determine if their employer provides for vacation time.
In some situations, Connecticut law requires employers to offer certain service employees paid sick leave. To qualify, the employee must work in certain fields and their company must employ at least 50 people. Employees accrue 1 hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
Whether one qualifies for sick leave is a complicated area of law. Check with an experienced Connecticut employment lawyer with questions about qualifying for sick leave.
Contact Our CT Labor Law Attorneys For Assistance
If you have a question about labor laws in Connecticut or your rights as an employee in the workplace, contact Stanger Stanfield Law today.
Founded in 1977, our experienced team of attorneys has extensive knowledge in employment law. Our firm possesses an impeccable record for providing the highest quality legal services to our clients.