Connecticut Labor Laws

In 2022, Connecticut’s state minimum wage is $14 per hour.

Under the state’s rules, employees in the hotel and restaurant industries (other than bartenders) who “customarily and regularly receive gratuities” can be paid $6.38 per hour in direct wages. Bartenders must be paid at least $8.23 per hour.

In calculating the overtime rate for the tipped employee, the restaurateur must multiply the minimum wage ($14 per hour) by 1½ (1.5), subtract the tip credit ($7.62 per hour for bartenders and $5.77 per hour for the other tipped positions), multiply that figure by the number of overtime hours worked, and then add that sum to their 40-hour total. 

Employers are required to provide 30 minutes of unpaid break time if an employee has worked at least seven and a half consecutive hours during their shift. This break should occur at least two hours after they report for work and at least two hours before their shift ends.

During this time, the employee must be completely relieved of their duties: eating lunch at one’s desk while continuing to work does not count. If an employer does not want to offer this lunch break, it must provide at least 30 minutes of paid breaks instead.

Instead of providing a lunch break, Connecticut employers may offer a total of 30 minutes of break time per each seven and a half hour work period. This time must be paid.

This is not an independent requirement. In other words, employers do not have to provide rest breaks, paid or otherwise. If they choose to offer at least 30 minutes of paid breaks, however, they can get out of the meal break requirement.

Employers who have fifty or more employees are obligated to offer paid sick days to restaurant workers. If you work for a smaller company, your boss may elect to pay you sick time but is not legally required to do so. 

According to Connecticut state law, sick leave benefits are funded annually. Service workers earn one hour of leave for every forty hours worked. This type of leave may be used in one-hour increments to a maximum of forty hours per year. Unused accrued hours may be carried from one year to the next.

What happens to an eligible service worker’s accrued sick time if he or she separates from the employer? If the employee worked more than an average of ten hours weekly and completed 680 hours from the date of hire, then she is entitled to a payout for the accrued sick time.

Eligible employees may receive paid sick leave for a variety of circumstances. Workers themselves do not have to be ill, as the time may be used to care for a spouse or child. In either case, the following are reasons to use paid sick days:

  • Illness, injury, or health condition
  • Medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental illness or physical illness, injury or health condition
  • Preventative medical care

Lastly, if the service worker is a victim of either sexual assault of family violence, paid sick days can be used for more than seeking medical or psychological care. It is also available for relocation efforts or participation in civil or criminal proceedings.

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