Connecticut – Minimum Wage Laws




Minimum wage amount

Connecticut’s current minimum wage is $12.00.

Over the next several years, Connecticut’s minimum wage rate will increase as follows:

  • August 1, 2021 – $13.00
  • July 1, 2022 – $14.00
  • June 1, 2023 – $15.00

CT Public Act No. 19-4 (2019)

Beginning on January 1, 2024, Connecticut’s minimum wage will 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, for wages and salaries for all civilian workers, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor, over the twelve-month period ending on June 13 of the preceding year, rounded to the nearest whole cent. CT Public Act No. 19-4 (2019) The Connecticut Department of Labor may recommend to the Governor that a scheduled minimum wage increase be suspended 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. CT Public Act No. 19-4 (2019)

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. CT Public Act No. 19-4 (2019)

Connecticut employers must also comply with federal minimum wage laws, which currently sets the federal minimum wage at $7.25. See FLSA: Minimum Wage.

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



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 Public Act No. 19-4 (2019)

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 countergirls, counterwaitresses, countermen, and counterwaiters, are not service employees. CT Reg. 31-62-E2(e) 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, unless 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 the another occupation other than mercantile, the wage order that provides the higher benefit tot he 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 to do so. CT Statute 31-67 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 handicapped worker is to be employed based upon the extent to which the worker is handicapped in the performance of 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 percent of the standards minimum wage for the first 200 hours of employment. Sec. 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. CT Statute 31-60; CT Reg. 31-60-8

Employers may not pay apprentices less than the minimum fair wage rate unless the labor commissioner has provide 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 cancelled, the labor commissioner must notify both the employer and the apprentice in writing of the facts warranting the cancellation and afforded them an opportunity to demonstrate or achieve compliance.

CT Reg. 31-60-8

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 and 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 and 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 percent of the standards 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 which provides vocational training in an occupation that is not apprenticeable but for which a training period may extend over a considerable length of time. CT Statute 31-60; CT Reg. 31-60-7

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 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;
  • the total number of fully trained employees in the same occupation.

If the labor commissioner approves the employers request, the employer must keep a copy of the approval as part of its payroll records. CT Reg. 31-60-7

Also, an 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 and 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 and 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.


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