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Connecticut Wage and Overtime Laws

MINIMUM WAGE

In May 2019, a new law was signed gradually increasing the minimum wage in Connecticut over the next five years.  The minimum wage will increase to:

  • $11.00 on October 1, 2019
  • $12.00 on September 1, 2020
  • $13.00 on August 1, 2021
  • $14.00 on July 1, 2022
  • $15.00 on June 1, 2023 
  • Indexed to Employment Cost Index as of January 1, 2024

Prior minimum wage rates were:

  • $10.10 per hour as of January 1, 2017
  • $9.60 per hour for 2016
  • $9.15 per hour for 2015
  • $8.70 per hour for 2014

The tipped minimum wage rate for any employee who customarily receives at least $30 in tips per month remains at $6.38 per hour, and the employee’s wage and tips must combine to equal at least the current minimum wage rate. If an employee’s wages and tips do not combine to equal at least minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. The employer’s tip credit percentages will increase along with the minimum wage so as to maintain the employer’s share of tipped employees’ wages at present dollar levels.

OVERTIME

All non-exempt employees must be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 in a seven-day week. – Overtime is calculated on a weekly basis. Even if an employee works 12 hours in one workday, he or she will not receive overtime pay unless he works more than 40 hours in that week.

EXEMPTIONS

Employers must follow both Connecticut wage law and United States federal law. These require employers to pay all “employees” a minimum wage and increased rate for overtime. However, the definition of employee has many exceptions under Connecticut law. An exemption means the worker is not considered an employee and is not entitled to the increased overtime rate. See this page for a list of exemptions.

The “White Collar” exemptions are the most common in Connecticut, although the state does not identify the “computer professional” exemption provided under federal law. In addition to the requirements listed below each exemption, under the state law “short test”, a worker must receive a salary of at least $475 per week in order to qualify (except for the outside sales exemption). This salary requirement is higher than the previous federal law minimum salary of $455* per week which was in effect until 12/31/2019, after which it increased to $684. These exemptions are:

  • Executive – Worker’s full-time responsibility (at least 80% of time working / 60% for retail & service employees)
    • must be managing the enterprise or a recognized department, and
    • directing the work of at least two employees
  • Administrative – Worker’s primary duty (at least 80% of time working / 60% for retail & service employees)
    • must be non-manual work related to business operations, management policies, or administrative training,
    • which requires the exercise of discretion and independent judgment
    • Examples of job fields under the Administrative exemption:
      • Tax and financial consulting
      • Budgeting
      • Auditing
      • Insurance
      • Advertising
      • Loans
  • Professional – Worker’s primary duties (at least 80% of time working)
    • must require knowledge of an advance type customarily acquired by prolonged course of education, or
    • must include work that is original and creative in character, and
    • must require exercise of discretion and judgment or inventive, imaginative or artistic work
    • Examples of “Learned Professionals”:
      • Lawyers (but not paralegals)
      • Doctors
      • Registered nurses (but not licensed practical nurses)
      • Accountants
      • Advertising
      • Chefs
      • Actuaries
      • Engineers
      • Architects
      • Funeral directors and embalmers
    • Examples of “Creative Professionals”:
      • Actors
      • Musicians
      • Painters
      • Writers
  • Outside Sales
    • Worker’s primary duties (at least 80% of time working) must be making sales or taking orders outside of their employer’s main workplace

* The Department of Labor under the Obama Administration increased this salary amount to $913 per week ($47,476/year) effective 12/1/2016; however, this increase was blocked by a court ruling. The Trump Administration increased the minimum salary but to the lower amount of $684 per week. Please see this page for the latest updates.

Commission Sales Exemption

An additional overtime exemption exists for commissioned inside salespeople. The definition of an inside salesperson is any employee:

  • whose sole duty is to sell a product or service
  • whose pay rate is greater than 2 times the minimum wage rate
  • who earns commissions that are more than 1/2 of their total compensation
  • who does not work more than 54 hours per week.

Car Salesman / Mechanic

An additional overtime exemption exists for any salesman primarily engaged in selling automobiles. The definition of “salesman” includes any person employed by a licensed new car dealer:

  • whose primary duty is to sell maintenance and repair services
  • whose pay rate is greater than 2 times the minimum wage rate
  • who earns commissions that are more than 1/2 of their total compensation<
  • who does not work more than 54 hours per week.

As of 2018, the CT minimum wage is $10.10 per hour which means a salesperson’s rate of pay must be higher than $20.20 per hour in order to be exempt from the overtime requirement under either of these exemptions. If these requirements are not met, these employees must be paid time and a half after 40 hours per week.

HOLIDAYS / VACATION / SICK LEAVE

Connecticut does not have a state law requiring additional pay for work completed on weekends or holidays. Employers do not have to offer pay for time not worked, including vacation or holiday but employers may offer it if they so choose. Generally, Connecticut employers with at least 50 employees must provide paid sick leave, with some limitations.

MEAL BREAKS / REST PERIODS

Most employees who work 7.5 consecutive hours or more must be given a meal period of at least 30 minutes at some time after the first 2 hours and before the last 2 hours of work.   See this page for further details.

REPORTING TIME PAY

Neither Connecticut nor the Federal law requires payment if an employee reports to work expecting to work for a certain number of hours but does not get to work their full schedule.

STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS

Employees seeking unpaid wages or overtime have two years to file suit. If the employee’s violation was willful, the employee has three years to file suit.

REMEDIES / PENALTIES

Connecticut employers who withhold wages are liable for as much as double the amount of unpaid wages, costs, and attorney’s fees. Misclassified employees successfully recover over $140,000,000 from Connecticut employers each year. Failure to pay appropriate wages is also a crime. In addition to civil penalties, violators can face misdemeanor charges.

See this page for further details about the Connecticut Wage and Hour laws.