Connecticut Minimum Wage Laws – 2022

The current Connecticut minimum wage rate is $14.00 per hour. Employers must pay their employees Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage rate unless the employer or employee is exempt by state or federal law.

Regarding the tip wage rate, Connecticut allows employers, as part of their business operations, to pay service employees who earn tips a tipped minimum wage rate of $6.38 per hour.

For bartenders, who customarily receive tips, employers must pay a tipped minimum cash wage rate of $8.23 per hour. The wage rate plus tips must result in the employees earning a standard minimum wage when combined.Additionally, Connecticut’s laws and minimum wage rules may allow employers, in limited situations, to pay certain employees a subminimum wage.


Minimum Wage Amount

Minimum wage in 2022

Connecticut’s current minimum wage is $14.00. CT Statute 31-58, CT Wage and Workplace Standards Division

Minimum Wage Changes in 2023

Connecticut’s minimum wage rate will increase on June 1, 2023, to $15.00. CT Statute 31-58

Minimum Wage Changes in 2024 and After

Beginning on January 1, 2024, there will be a modest increase in the minimum wage in Connecticut—specifically, an increase each year on January 1.

The amount of the minimum wage increase will be based on the percentage change in the employment cost index or its successor index. This applies to wages and salaries for all civilian workers as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor over the 12-month period ending on June 13 of the preceding year, rounded to the nearest whole cent.

Hopefully, this move will benefit more middle-income families and hardworking families, considering that economic indicators show the need for the improvement of the current minimum wage.

However, the Connecticut Department of Labor may recommend to the Governor that a scheduled minimum wage hike be suspended. This is possible if there are two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the state’s real gross domestic product as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Connecticut’s minimum wage law provides that its minimum wage will increase to be one-half of one percent more than the federal minimum wage when it increases, rounded to the nearest whole cent.

Any increase to Connecticut’s minimum wage resulting from an increase to the federal minimum wage rate takes effect on the same day as the federal rate change.

Connecticut employers must also comply with federal minimum wage laws, which currently set the federal minimum wage at $7.25.

If an employer chooses to pay employees minimum wage, the employer must pay those employees in accordance with the minimum wage law, either federal or state. More importantly, it should result in the employees being paid the higher wage.

In most instances, the Connecticut minimum wage will apply, as it generally guarantees a higher wage rate for employees than federal law.


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Tip Minimum Wage

Connecticut’s minimum wage for service employees is $6.38. Its minimum wage for bartenders who customarily receive tips is $8.23. CT Statute 31-58, CT Department of Labor Summary of Public Act 19-4

For employers to be able to take tip credits for minimum wage purposes, they must:

  • Be engaged in an employment in which gratuities have customarily and usually constituted and have been recognized as part of his remuneration for hiring purposes;
  • Must record the amount received in gratuities claimed as credit for part of the minimum fair wage recorded on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis in a wage record, even though payment is made more frequently; and
  • Must provide substantial evidence that not less than the amount claimed was received by the employee.

CT Reg. 31-60-2

Connecticut defines gratuities as voluntary monetary contributions by customers given directly to employees for services rendered. CT Reg. 31-60-2; CT Reg. 31-62-E2(f)

Restaurant and Hotel Restaurant Occupations

For restaurant and hotel restaurant occupations, a service employee is an employee who

  • performs duties that relate entirely to serving food and/or beverages to customers seated at tables or booth
  • performs duties incidental to serving food and/or beverages to customers seated at tables or booth which include:
  • customarily receives gratuities

CT Reg. 31-62-E2(c)

Duties incidental to serving food and/or beverages to customers seated at tables or booth which include:

  • Taking orders from patrons for food or beverages;
  • Checking with customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and taking action to correct any problems;
  • Checking patrons’ identification to ensure that they met minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages;
  • Collecting payments from customers;
  • Writing patrons’ food orders on order slips, memorizing orders, or entering orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff;
  • Preparing checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes;
  • Presenting menus to patrons and answering questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request;
  • Removing dishes and glasses from tables or counters and taking them to the kitchen for cleaning;
  • Serving food or beverages to patrons, and preparing or serving specialty dishes at tables as required;
  • Cleaning tables or counters after patrons have finished dining;
  • Preparing tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware;
  • Explaining how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods;
  • Escorting customers to their tables;
  • Cleaning tables and floors in service employee’s immediate service area before, during, or after serving patrons;
  • Cleaning and tidying up server stations and drink stations;
  • Informing customers of daily specials;
  • Preparing hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, including brewing coffee and chilling bottles of wine;
  • Rolling silverware, setting up food stations, or setting up dining areas to prepare for the next shift or for large parties;
  • Stocking service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens;
  • Bringing wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pouring wines for customers;
  • Filling salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers;
  • Describing and recommending wines to customers; and
  • Garnishing and decorating dishes in preparation for serving.

CT Reg. 31-62-E2(c)

Employees who serve food and/or beverages but not to customers seated at tables, such as counter girls, counter waitresses, counter men, and counter waiters, are not service employees.

Also, employers cannot claim tip credits for service employees who perform non-service duties on any day, whichever is less:

  • for two (2) or more hours, or
  • for more than 20 percent of the service employee’s shift

CT Reg. 31-62-E3

If an employee works partly in a restaurant occupation and in the mercantile occupation, the provisions of Connecticut’s mercantile wage order apply to the entire work period. It doesn’t apply if the employer has segregated and separately recorded the employee’s time worked in the mercantile occupation and the restaurant occupation.

If the employer has segregated and separated the employee’s time, the employer may take the tip credit for the hours worked by the employee in the restaurant occupation.

CT Reg. 31-62-E5(a)

If an employee works partly in a restaurant occupation and in another occupation other than mercantile, the wage order that provides the higher benefit to the employee applies, unless the employer has segregated and separately recorded the employee’s time worked in the restaurant occupation. If the employer has segregated and separated the employee’s time, the employer may take the tip credit for the hours worked by the employee in the restaurant occupation.

CT Reg. 31-62-E3(b)


Tip Pooling and Sharing

Connecticut minimum wage law does not address tip (gratuity) pooling or sharing arrangements. The standards set forth pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act regarding tip pooling and sharing may provide reasonable guidance.


Subminimum wage

Employees with disabilities

Connecticut minimum wage laws permit employers to pay employees with disabilities a wage rate lower than the standard minimum wage if they obtain a special license from the Connecticut Department of Labor permitting it.

An employer attempting to obtain a special license from the Department of Labor to pay employees with disabilities at a rate lower than the minimum wage must provide:

  • The name and address of the person to whom the modified minimum wage rate shall apply;
  • The nature of the disability;
  • The duties to which the worker will be assigned and the apparent degree of disability in performing such duties;
  • The proposed hourly rate at which the disabled worker is to be employed based upon the extent to which the worker is unable to perform the duties required;

The willingness of the employee to accept a modified hourly rate subject to approval.

CT Reg. 31-60-4


Trainees

Connecticut minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay trainees or beginners a wage rate that is no less than 85% of the standards minimum wage for the first 200 hours of employment. To know more, check CT Statute 31-58(i).


Apprentices

Connecticut minimum wage laws allow employers to pay apprentices a wage rate lower than the standard minimum wage if they obtain permission from the Connecticut Department of Labor to do so.

An apprentice is an individual who is at least sixteen (16) years old and is employed to learn a skilled trade in a bona fide apprentice program under an indenture of apprenticeship approved by the Connecticut State Apprenticeship Council of the Department of Labor.

Employers may not pay apprentices less than the minimum fair wage rate unless the labor commissioner has provided its permission.

To obtain permission, an employer must file an application with the labor department that includes a copy of the standards of the proposed apprentice program and a copy of the apprentice indenture.

Employers must keep a copy of the apprenticeship certification.

The labor commissioner may cancel the certification for violation of any of its terms. However, before the certification is canceled, the labor commissioner must notify both the employer and the apprentice in writing of the facts warranting the cancellation and afford them an opportunity to demonstrate or achieve compliance.

The employer must retain the following records for the period of apprenticeship:

  • Each worker employed as an apprentice shall be designated as such on the payroll records or personnel records maintained by the employer. All apprentices shall be listed as a separate group on the payroll records or personnel records maintained by the employer.

The employer shall keep a cumulative record of the number of hours worked by each employee at an apprentice’s rate. The total accumulation of such hours shall be carried forward and posted to the payroll record at the end of each pay period.

CT Reg. 31-60-8


Learners

Connecticut minimum wage laws allow employers to pay learners a wage rate that is no less than 85% of the standard minimum wage for the first 200 hours of employment if they obtain permission from the Connecticut Department of Labor to do so.

A learner is an individual who is enrolled in an established program that provides vocational training in an occupation that is not apprenticeable but for which a training period may extend over a considerable length of time.

To obtain permission to pay a learner at a rate less than the standard minimum wage, an employer must apply in writing to the labor commissioner setting forth:

  • The occupation for which the learner is to be trained;
  • The length of the training period;
  • A statement setting forth a schedule of work processes in the occupation in which the learner is to be taught and the approximate time to be spent at each process;
  • Related technical instruction if any;
  • A statement of the proposed graduated scale of wages to be paid the learner during the training period;
  • Supervision to be received by the learner;
  • The maximum number of learners to be in training at any given time; and
  • The total number of fully trained employees in the same occupation.

If the labor commissioner approves the employer’s request, the employer must keep a copy of the approval as part of its payroll records.

Also, the employer must retain the following records for the period of the program:

  • Each worker employed as a learner shall be designated as such on the payroll records or personnel records maintained by the employer. All learners shall be listed as a separate group on the payroll records or personnel records maintained by the employer.

The employer shall keep a cumulative record of the number of hours worked by each employee at a learner’s rate. The total accumulation of such hours shall be carried forward and posted to the payroll record at the end of each pay period.

CT Reg. 31-60-7


Student Learners

Connecticut minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay student learners less than the standard minimum wage. Employers must pay trainees the standard minimum wage rate, unless otherwise exempt.


Student Workers

Connecticut minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay student workers less than the standard minimum wage. Employers must pay trainees the standard minimum wage rate, unless otherwise exempt.


Connecticut Employment and Labor Laws FAQs

To add more to the information stated earlier, we have prepared the set of FAQs below regarding employment and labor laws in Connecticut.

In Connecticut, can employers fire employees for no justifiable reason?

No, this is not possible, thanks to Connecticut being an “At Will” state, which means employees cannot be terminated anytime without a reason provided.

On a related note, the following reasons for termination are considered illegal under state laws:

  • Sexual Orientation
  • Disability
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race

Labor and employment laws are designed to protect employees from hostile work environments. How is this type of environment defined in Connecticut?

Any work environment that shows discrimination is considered a hostile one. This includes misbehavior aligned with factors like race, religion, national origin, physical disability, and sex.

Other than the implementation of its employment and labor laws, how else does Connecticut help protect both employers and employees?

Connecticut is equipped with various offices that help in this regard. There are specific CHRO regional offices that help investigate and resolve employment discrimination complaints and cases.

Connecticut’s Department of Labor is also responsible for upholding regulations and laws that affect both employers and employees. These issues include working minors, safeguarding personnel files, drug testing, and workplace safety, among many others.

Connecticut also has its Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides further guidance if employees need to take medical or family leave.

What do Connecticut employment and labor laws state about the use of recreational marijuana?

As the 19th state in the United States to legalize the use of recreational marijuana for adults, it is important to note that the new employment law in the State, to be in full effect on July 1, 2022, allows the retail sale of cannabis.

This also means that records of employees with marijuana-related convictions will be erased.

While employers can continue to stop employees from working while under the influence of marijuana, as well as prohibit them from using it in the workplace, non-exempt employers are not allowed to restrict its off-work use.

This new law encourages employers to review policies they have about alcohol and drug use.

How is salary range disclosure practiced in Connecticut?

Effective October 1, 2021, all employers in Connecticut are required to provide their applicants with a wage range for a position being applied for.


Other State’s Minimum Wage Information

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
District of ColumbiaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
FloridaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming
Georgia

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We hope you find our newsletters help you better navigate employment and labor law issues.