by Robin Imbrogno, on Dec 2, 2021 2:37:56 PM
On top of the federal labor laws that companies must adhere to, Connecticut has its own set of specific employment and labor laws that require compliance as well. Connecticut labor laws are a vast set of rules and regulations for employers to follow in areas that include employee leave / absence, pay, and discrimination.
Unless you have specific human resources (HR) expertise in-house, it may make sense to leverage a Connecticut HR company like the Human Resources Consulting Group (HRCG) for help understanding and complying with the state's labor laws. Whether using an external HR consultant like HRCG or not, establishing policies, processes, and solutions to stay compliant with this legislation will be necessary.
Connecticut Recruitment & Hiring Laws
Ban the Box
Having gone into effect on January 1, 2017, Connecticut's "Ban the Box" Law specifies that employers are prohibited from inquiring about prospective employees' prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an initial employment application.
Exemptions from this law would include employers that are required to ask this by another state or federal law. Another exemption would be positions that employers are hiring for that require security, fidelity, or equivalent type of bond.
New Hire Reporting
Private companies are required by the state to submit new hire information for newly hired employees and employees that are returning to work to the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) within 20 days of the date of hire.
Connecticut Wage and Hour Laws
Determining Employees Types
At the state and federal levels, there are three types of workers: exempt, non-exempt, and independent contractors. It is important that employers understand how to properly classify employees.
1. Exempt Employees in Connecticut
Exempt employees are not subject to overtime law. For an employee to be classified as an exempt employee they must pass both the duties and the salary tests, under both Connecticut and Federal law.
Duties Test - Under the Duties Test, the employee’s primary duty must require that they act with discretion and independent judgment. Connecticut specifically requires discretion and independent judgment to occur on a regular basis.
Connecticut law states that a job title does not make the determination; employers must look to an employee's actual job duties. Connecticut law provides examples of exempt duties (duties that require discretion and independent judgment). These duties include:
- Hiring and firing employees
- Scheduling employees
- Determining credit policies
- Formulating personnel policies
- Assessing employee performance
- Determining staffing levels
- Making company investment decisions
Salary Test - The Salary Test states that, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to be considered exempt the employee must make at least $455 per week. However, under Connecticut law, to be considered exempt the employee must make at least $475 per week.
2. Non-Exempt Employees in Connecticut
Employees that do not meet the requirements to classify as exempt are classified as non-exempt. This means that they are subject to overtime requirements under state and federal law.
3. Independent Contractors in Connecticut
Connecticut law does not mention independent contractors. Thus, federal law applies to all independent contractors. Independent contractors are defined as workers who are self-employed and whose earnings are subject to self-employment tax.
The IRS has provided the following factors to help employers determine whether they may classify a worker as an independent contractor:
- Behavioral Controls
- Who controls how the work is done?
- Who controls when and where the work is done?
- Who controls what tools or equipment are used?
- Financial Control
- Does the employer reimburse for some or all of the worker’s business expenses?
- Does the worker receive company benefits?
- Is there a written contract for employment?
Employers must look at all factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. There is no specific set number of factors, or one explicit factor, that can classify an employee as an independent contractor.
Misclassification of Workers
When an employee has been misclassified as exempt, the employer may be liable for lost wages. In addition, the employee may be able to recover twice the full amount of wages owed, plus costs and attorney fees. It is impo
When an employer is covered by state and federal laws, the law that provides the higher or stricter standards shall apply.
Connecticut Overtime Law
Connecticut law mirrors FLSA overtime law. Connecticut employers must pay the overtime rate of 1.5 times an employee's regular pay rate for any additional hour worked (over 40) in a workweek. Connecticut law does not require employers to pay overtime on a daily basis, on weekends, or on holidays unless required by an employer-employee agreement.
Connecticut Payment Requirements
Connecticut employers must pay each employee weekly on a regularly scheduled payday, which must be set in advance in order to correctly process payroll in the state of Connecticut.
Payment on Termination
Connecticut employees who quit or are laid off must be paid all wages owed to them on the next regularly scheduled payday. When a Connecticut employer terminates an employee, all wages owed to the employee are due the next business day.
Connecticut employers may not make a withholding unless:
- Required by state or federal law
- The employee has provided written consent on a Connecticut Labor approved form
- The withholding is for a benefit such as medical insurance or a retirement plan
Paycheck Record-Keeping Requirements
Connecticut employers must keep wage records going back at least three years at their office.
Wage records must show the employees:
- Home address
- Total daily and weekly hours worked showing each work period's beginning and ending time, computed to the nearest unit of 15 minutes
- Total hourly, daily, or weekly basic wage
- Overtime wage as a separate item
- Addition and deductions from wages each pay period
- Total wages paid each pay period
- Working certificates for 16 to 18-year-old employees
Connecticut Minimum Wage
The FLSA set the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. Many states have enacted their own minimum wage laws. When a state law sets a minimum wage higher than the federal, the state wage applies.
Connecticut Minimum Wage is/was as follows, on the following effective dates:
- $10.10 prior to October 1st, 2019
- $11.00 on October 1st, 2019
- $12.00 on September 1st, 2020
- $13.00 on August 1st, 2021
- $14.00 on July 1st, 2022 (COMING SOON)
- $15.00 on June 1st, 2023
Connecticut Pay Equity Law
Connecticut's Pay Equity Law states an employer must equally compensate employees of the opposite sex for comparable work, when the work is viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.
If an employee can demonstrate that his or her employer discriminates on the basis of sex then such employer must demonstrate that such differential in pay is made pursuant to:
- A seniority system
- A merit system
- A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production
- A differential system based upon a bona fide factor other than sex
Disclosure of Salary Ranges
Connecticut's new salary range law went into effect on October 1st, 2021 concerning the disclosure of salary ranges as well, in order to help combat pay inequities in the state.
The law states that no employer shall:
- Prohibit an employee from inquiring about, disclosing, or discussing the amount of his or her wages or the wages of another employee, and vice versa, that have been disclosed voluntarily
- Require an employee to sign a waiver or other document denying their rights for such inquiries
- Inquire, or direct, a third party to inquire about a prospective employee's wage and salary history unless a prospective employee has voluntarily disclosed such information (except under federal or state law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes)
- Discharge, discipline, discriminate against, retaliate against, or otherwise penalize any employee for exercising their rights under this law
- Fail or refuse to provide an applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying, upon the earliest of (1) the applicant's request, or (2) prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation
- Fail or refuse to provide an employee the wage range for the employee's position upon (1) the hiring of the employee, (2) a change in the employee's position with the employer, or (3) the employee's first request for a wage range
An employer who violates these regulations may be found liable for compensatory damages, attorney's fees, costs, punitive damages, and relief.
Connecticut Leave Laws
Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA)
There are both the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA) laws that may run concurrently with each other. In other instances, each protected leave may run independently, so employers should be tracking both leaves separately.
Federal FMLA vs. Connecticut FMLA vs. Connecticut Paid Leave
Connecticut Paid Leave
|Applies to all private-sector employers who have at least 50 employees||Applies to all private-sector employers who have at least 1 employee||Applies to all private-sector employers who have at least 1 employee|
|Applies to all employees who have worked at least 12 months, and;||Applies to all employees who have worked at least 3 months, and;||Applies to all employees who are currently employed or were employed within 12 weeks of the preceding leave, and;|
|Employees must have also worked 1,250 hours in the last 12 months, and;||No hours worked requirement, and;||No hours worked requirement, and;|
|No earning requirements||No earning requirements||
Employees must have also earned at least $2,325 in their most recent highest-earning quarter
The highest quarter is determined out of the first 4 of the previous 5 quarters (previous 15 months)
Wages from multiple employers may be combined
Employees may receive up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period for all reasons, except:
Employees may receive up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period for all reasons, except:
Employees may receive up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period, except:
The Connecticut Department of Administrative Services has compiled a CT FMLA manual that covers leave entitlements and administration with helpful HR practice points along the way.
Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA)
In June of 2019, Connecticut passed new legislation creating the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
The new law gives employees access to paid leave and sick leave for qualifying life events that are otherwise covered by Connecticut FMLA, federal FMLA, and the Connecticut Family Violence Leave Act.
As of January of 2021, employers with one employee or more are required to collect payroll deductions of 0.05% of gross wages in order to fund the new paid sick leave policies, which will officially go into effect and be available to employees starting in January 2022.
Payroll deductions and payment for covered leave are administered by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority Trust Fund.
Connecticut Jury Duty Leave
Connecticut employees are not only entitled to jury duty leave, but Connecticut employers must pay their full-time employees their regular wage for the first five days of jury duty unless the Chief Court Administrator has excused the employer from payment.
An employer may be excused from jury duty payment if they submit a written application to the Chief Court Administrator and be subject to financial hardship sufficient to justify excusing them from the compensation obligation.
When an employer is excused from paying an employee for jury duty, Connecticut will pay the employee not more than $50.00 per day for the first five days of jury duty.
Connecticut Voting Leave
Connecticut recently passed a new law (Sec. 108 on page 142 of Bill No. 1202) in June 2021, entitling employees to two hours of unpaid time off from any regularly scheduled work, on the day of any covered election, during voting hours, in order to vote.
Employees who are eligible for leave include:
- Any employee in the case of a state election.
- Any employee who is an elector in the case of any US senator, congress representative, state senator, or state representative election.
Employees must request time off to vote no less than two workdays prior to the election. This law, however, is only effective until June 30, 2024.
Connecticut Bereavement Leave
Connecticut employers are not required to provide employees bereavement leave. When an employer does provide bereavement leave, they must comply with their established policy.
Connecticut Vacation Leave
Connecticut law does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave. However, when an employer does provide leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Connecticut Health and Safety Laws
Connecticut businesses must familiarize themselves with laws from Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CONN-OSHA).
Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA or CONN-OSHA)
Connecticut OSHA is an act that intends to assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women throughout the state.
Employees who believe their employer is in violation of any CONN-OSHA provisions can submit a complaint here.
For information on compliance, enforcement, and inspections, see this CONN-OSHA FAQ.
Connecticut Workers' Compensation
Administered and enforced by the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC), Workers' Compensation in Connecticut provides benefits to employees that are injured on the job or have work-related illnesses through a 'no-fault' insurance plan.
Workers' Compensation insurance is required for all Connecticut employers. Employees become eligible and should be covered by the insurance on the first day of employment. A Workers' Compensation Notice must be posted by the employer to ensure that employees have access to their rights under this law.
If a qualifying event occurs in which the employee becomes injured or ill on the job, access will be provided for medical treatment and other benefits including disability, recurrence or relapse benefits, discretionary benefits, and job retraining. Proper reporting requires employers to file an accident report with the “First Report of Injury” Form.
Legal Marijuana Protections for Connecticut Employers
On June 22nd, 2021, S.B. 1201 was signed into law, which legalized cannabis and provided specific guidelines.
The bill, which allows those aged 21 or older to possess 1.5 ounces of marijuana in public and 6 ounces at home starting on July 1st, 2021. Cannabis non-medicinal / recreational sales are expected to begin in May of 2022 as a result of this legislation as well.
The bill includes employer protections for maintaining safe workplaces that CBIA and member company representatives advocated for, which include the following:
- Employers can drug test employees and job applicants, and take disciplinary action.
- Employers can adopt policies prohibiting the possession and use of cannabis in the workplace.
- No accommodations are required allowing employees to perform job duties under the influence of cannabis or possess or use marijuana in the workplace.
- Employers may prohibit cannabis use outside the workplace if the employer adopted a policy under the bill’s conditions.
- Employers are not limited from taking adverse or other employment action upon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s use of cannabis while working or determining that an employee shows specific, articulable symptoms of drug impairment while working.
- With certain exceptions, an employee or prospective employee aggrieved by a violation of the bill’s employer limitations may bring a civil action within 90 days after the alleged violation.
Connecticut Fair Employment Laws & Practices
While employers must comply with federal discrimination laws, such as the Civil Rights Act, Equal Pay Act (EPA), and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), separate and sometimes overlapping Connecticut discrimination laws are present and require compliance as well.
Here is some general guidance on the two sets of state and federal laws that aim to prevent discrimination and how they're different:
Enforcement of anti-discrimination law by
Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
Enforcement of anti-discrimination law by
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Can’t discriminate in employment because of a person’s:
Mental Disorder (past or present)
Can’t discriminate in employment because of a person’s:
Three or more employees
15 or more employees
Employees in Connecticut can file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities if it's believed that an employer is not adhering to these provisions.
Below are a list of specific Connecticut discrimination laws that employers should be well-versed in.
Connecticut Sexual Harassment Law
In June 2019, Connecticut enacted Public Acts 19-16 and 19-93; combined they are known as the Time’s Up Act. Having went into effect on October 1, 2019, these laws expanded Connecticut sexual harassment legislation and required employers with three or more employees to provide sexual harassment management training to their supervisory employees AND training to employees.
Workplaces have new Sexual Harassment Law poster / posting requirements and are expected to distribute information regarding illegal sexual harassment to employees. Failure to satisfy the posting requirements may subject the employer to fines up to $1,000 and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) may assign a designated representative to enter the employer’s place of business to ensure posting-requirement compliance.
Beyond the training and posting requirements, the legislation gives employees much more protection including significant changes to the allowable time-to-file claims and how companies can change employee terms and conditions.
The Connecticut CROWN Act
Effective March 2021, Connecticut’s CROWN Act, also known as the Act for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”, added hairstyles to the list of ethnic traits historically associated with race that employers may not discriminate against.
Some of these hairstyles include:
- Afro puffs
- Bantu knots
Connecticut Pregnancy Discrimination Law
While there are federal laws preventing discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace, Connecticut is one of the few states that has its own pregnancy discrimination laws.
Under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, employers may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against an employee or applicant because of pregnancy, childbirth, or another related condition.
Connecticut's Act Concerning Breastfeeding in the Workplace
In addition to pregnancy discrimination laws, Connecticut is one of the few states with a breastfeeding law as well. A Connecticut employer who has one or more employees must:
- Allow employees to express breastmilk or breastfeed on-site during a meal or rest break.
- Make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location near the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in private.
Connecticut employers must also ensure the breastfeeding room or location is:
- Free from any kind of intrusion and shielded from the public while such employee expresses breast milk.
- Include or be situated near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold storage device in which the employee can store their breast milk.
- Include access to an electrical outlet.
Employers may not discriminate against, discipline, or take adverse employment action against employees who exercise their rights under this law.
Connecticut Whistleblower Protection Program
No employer, under the Connecticut Whistleblower Protection Program, may discipline, penalize, or discriminate against an employee because:
- An employee has filed a complaint, instituted, or was caused to be instituted by any proceeding under or related to this program.
- An employee has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding.
- Of the exercise by such employees on behalf of themselves or others of any right afforded by this program.
Any employee who believes that either themselves or a fellow employee has been fired, disciplined, penalized, or otherwise discriminated against by an employer may file a complaint within 180 days of the violation.
Connecticut Labor Law Poster Requirements
The following list includes all of the required state labor law posting requirements for employers to display for employees within in Connecticut:
- Connecticut Managed Care
- Connecticut Mercantile and Retail
- Connecticut Mercantile and Retail - Minors
- Connecticut Restaurant and Food Service (English/Spanish)
- Connecticut Restaurant and Food Service - Minors
- Connecticut Wage & Workplace Administrative Regulations (English/Spanish)
- Connecticut Workers' Compensation
- Electronic Monitoring
- Posters from the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, (including Sexual Harassment and Discrimination is Illegal)
- Pregnancy Discrimination Poster (English/Spanish)
- Federal Labor Law Postings
An all-in-one federal and state labor law poster for Connecticut will generally cover virtually all non-industry-specific posting requirements. Non-compliance is enforced by the Connecticut Department of Labor.
Connecticut Labor Law Take-Aways and Future Outlook
Fully grasping Connecticut's labor and employment laws can be an arduous task. With a lot of federal and state overlap, it's the employer's responsibility to understand what's required of their organization.
As a somewhat favorable state for the employee, labor laws are being created, altered or expanded upon quite frequently. So, although arduous, it's important to monitor guidance on legislation from authorities at the federal and state level.
If you are a Connecticut employer and need help complying with the labor laws of the state, a Connecticut HR consultant and payroll provider can help ensure that you are taking care of your workforce, while maintaining compliance, and improving productivity.