In Connecticut, an employer is not required to provide its employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See CT Statute 31-76k; Gagnon v. Housatonic Valley Tourism Dist. Comm., 888 A.2d 104, 92 Conn. App. 835 (2006); Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001); Fulco v. The Norwich Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp., 609 A.2d 1034, 27 Conn. App. 800 (1992).
An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. See Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001).
An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they are terminated. See Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001).
An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001).
An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. CT Stat. 31-76k.
An employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter, unless the employer has established a practice of doing so. See Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001)
An employer may lawfully cap the amount of leave an employee may accrue over time. See Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001).
An employer would also likely be free to implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it. See Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001).
Connecticut has a law that requires certain employers to provide employees classified as service workers with paid sick leave benefits, the details of which can be found on our Connecticut Sick Leave Law page. CT Div. of Wage and Workplace Standards FAQs. Employers are not required to provide sick leave benefits to non-service worker employees. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
An employer in Connecticut may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
To learn more about Connecticut’s sick leave law, visit our Connecticut Sick Leave Law page.
Connecticut law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Connecticut, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide paid holiday leave to employees and an employee has accrued holiday leave time, the employer must pay the employee for the accrued holiday leave time upon separation from employment. CT Statute 31-76k
Visit our Connecticut State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Connecticut as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer must pay full-time employees regular wages for the first five days, or part thereof, of jury service, unless the employer has been excused by the Chief Court Administrator from compensating the employee. To be excused from compensating a juror, an employer must submit a written application to the Chief Court Administrator. The Chief Administrator must find the employer is subject to financial hardship sufficient to justify excusing them from the compensation obligation. In cases where an employer is excused for compensating an employee for jury service, the state will compensate the employee for the first five days of jury service, not to exceed $50 per day. CT Statute 51-247
An employee is not considered a full-time employed juror on any day of jury service in which the person (1) would not have accrued regular wages if they were not serving as a juror on that day, or (2) would not have worked more than one-half of a shift which extends into another day if they were not serving as a juror on that day. Each juror not considered a full-time employed juror on a particular day is reimbursed by the state of Connecticut for necessary out-of-pocket expenses incurred during that day of jury service, provided the day of service falls within the first five days, or part thereof, of jury service. CT Statute 51-247
An employer may not discharge, penalize, threaten, or otherwise coerce an employee for receiving or responding to a jury summons or for serving on a jury. CT Statute 51-247a
Any employee who has served eight hours of jury duty in any one day is deemed to have worked a legal day’s work and an employer cannot require the employee to work in excess of eight hours as dictated by CT Statute 31-21; CT Statute 51-247a
Connecticut does not have a law which requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.
Connecticut law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family Medical Leave
Employees in Connecticut can receive either state or federal family medical leave benefits. Based on state laws, employers with 75+ employees must allow their employees to receive up to 16 weeks off every 24 months for family medical leave.
To be eligible for this type of leave, you’ll need to experience a few specific situations, including:
- An issue with your physical or mental health
- Adopting a child, birthing a new child, or becoming a foster parent
- Needing to care for a family member with serious health conditions
- To offer bone marrow or organ donations
Aside from state regulations, Connecticut must also follow federal laws when offering family medical leave. Based on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees are entitled to 12 weeks off per 12 months.
Again, there are specific criteria employees must meet to be eligible for this type of leave, including:
- Recuperating from serious ailments
- Caring for family members with severe conditions
- Bonding with a new child
- Caring for military family members
FMLA is unpaid (like CT bereavement laws), and as such, employees must consider their accrued paid leave before taking time off. Employers must allow employees to use their accrued paid time off during their medical leave. Upon return, you must be reinstated to the same position (or equivalent) when you left.
There are additional conditions for employees who require time off to care for a family member in the armed forces.
Employers with 75+ employees must offer up to 26 weeks off in 12 months to care for ill or injured servicemembers. This time off is allocated per servicemember per injury.
When discussing parental leave, most laws in Connecticut are designed to cover pregnant mothers. You’ll find the majority of your coverage falls under the Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act (CFMLA).
With these guidelines, employees can take 16 weeks off per 24-month period. It’s important to note that CFMLA only applies to employers with 75+ employees.
Additionally, employees are only eligible for parental leave if they’ve accumulated 1000 work hours for 12 months before their leave. Another important thing to note is the pregnancy disability leave law in the state.
Based on the pregnancy disability leave law, employers with 3+ employees must have a leave of absence protocol for special circumstances. These circumstances include:
- Employees disabled due to pregnancy
- Employees disabled due to childbirth
- Other related conditions to childbirth or pregnancy
Upon completing parental leave, employers must reinstate employees to their same (or equivalent) position.
Military members in Connecticut are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the same (or equivalent) previously held position
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)
One important exception to consider in Connecticut is that service members aren’t entitled to USERRA benefits about life insurance. However, their leave benefits are more extensive than in other states and include:
- Employees can take leave for meetings, drills, and other military duties without a loss of benefits
- Employers cannot discriminate against military members
- Employees will remain eligible for continued employment and promotions