Connecticut Work Hour Rules

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Hours Worked 

            Eight (8) hours of labor performed in any one day by any one person shall be a legal day’s work, unless otherwise agreed. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-21.

            “Hours worked” includes all time during which an employee is required by the employer to be on the employer’s premises or to be on duty, or to be at the prescribed work place, and all time during which an employee is employed or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so, provided time allowed for meals shall be excluded unless the employee is required or permitted to work. Such time includes, but shall not be limited to, the time when an employee is required to wait on the premises while no work is provided by the employer. Working time in every instance shall be computed to the nearest unit of 15 minutes. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-60-11.

            No employer shall compel any employee engaged in any commercial occupation, or in the work of any industrial process, to work more than six days in any calendar week. An employee's refusal to work more than six days in any calendar week shall not constitute grounds for dismissal. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-303e. 

De Minimis Time and Rounding

            Working time in every instance shall be computed to the nearest unit of 15 minutes. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-60-11. 

Break Periods

Meal Breaks

            No person shall be required to work for seven and one-half or more consecutive hours without a period of at least thirty (30) consecutive minutes for a meal. Such period shall be given at some time after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours. Employers, with the permission of the state Labor Department, are exempt from the meal break requirement if: (1) requiring compliance would be adverse to public safety, (2) the duties of a position may only be performed by one employee, (3) the employer employs less than five employees on a shift at a single place of business, provided the exemption shall only apply to the employees on such shift or (4) the continuous nature of an employer’s operations, such as chemical production or research experiments, requires that employees be available to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and such employees are compensated for break and meal periods.

            Also, professional employees certified by the State Board of Education, and employed by a local or regional board of education of any town or regional school district, to work directly with children are exempt from the meal break requirement.

            Employers and employees are permitted to enter into a written agreement providing for a different schedule of meal periods than the schedule outlined above. Further, instead of providing a continuous 30 minute meal period, employers may instead provide 30 or more total minutes of paid rest or meal periods within each seven and one-half hour work period.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51ii.

            When the employer provides a continuous 30 minute meal period, as described above, such time is not counted as time worked, and need not be paid time, provided the employee is not required or permitted to work during the meal period. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-76b(2)(A). When the employer provides a total of 30 minutes for meals and rest, but any meal or rest period is 20 minutes or less, the time must be paid under federal law.

Rest Breaks

            Aside from meal periods discussed above, there is currently no legal requirement to provide rest breaks or coffee breaks in Connecticut.

Breastfeeding Breaks

            Employers of one or more employees must permit an employee to express breast milk or breastfeed at her workplace during meal or break periods. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in private. An employer shall not discriminate against, discipline or take any adverse employment action against any employee because such employee has elected to exercise these rights. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40w.

            As discussed above, whether such time is paid is dependent on whether the break period is more than 20 minutes in duration. 

Waiting Time and On-Call Time

            All time during which an employee is required to be on call for emergency service at a location designated by the employer shall be considered to be working time and shall be paid for as such, whether or not the employee is actually called upon to work. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-60-11.

            When an employee is subject to call for emergency service, but is not required to be at a location designated by the employer, but is simply required to keep the employer informed of the location where the employee may be contacted, or when an employee is not specifically required by the employer to be subject to call, but is contacted by the employer and assigned to duty, working time shall begin when the employee is notified of the assignment and shall end when the employee has completed the assignment. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-60-11. 

Travel Time

            “Travel time” means that time during which a worker is required or permitted to travel for purposes incidental to the performance of employment, but does not include time spent traveling from home to the usual place of employment or return to home, except as otherwise provided by regulation.

            When an employee, in the course of his employment, is required or permitted to travel for purposes which inure to the benefit of the employer, such travel time shall be considered to be working time, and shall be paid for as such. Expenses directly incidental to and resulting from such travel shall be paid for by the employer when payment made by the employee would bring the employee’s earnings below the minimum wage.

            When an employee is required to report to other than the usual place of employment at the beginning of the work day, if such an assignment involves travel time on the part of the employee in excess of that ordinarily required to travel from home to the usual place of employment, such additional travel time shall be considered to be working time and shall be paid for as such.

            When at the end of a work day, a work assignment at other than the usual place of employment involves travel time in excess of that ordinarily required to travel from the usual place of employment to home, such additional travel time shall be considered to be working time and shall be paid for as such.

Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-60-10. 

Activities Before and After a Shift (“Preliminary and Postliminary”)

Cleaning and Organizing Equipment

            Workers required to clean and organize company vehicles after work each day must be paid for such time when the work is part of the employee’s “principal activities.” Sarrazin v. Costal, Inc., 2009 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1435, cv-084030702S (May 22, 2009).

Off Duty Work

Medical Attention

            Employees injured at work shall be paid their full wages for the entire day of the injury. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-295(c).

Reporting Pay

            Under various wage orders issued by the state of Connecticut Department of Labor, workers in certain industries are entitled to report pay under specific conditions. Because each wage order is extremely detailed, employers are encouraged to review the entire wage order(s) found in the regulations cited below. 

-Beauty Shops-Employees who by request, or by permission of the employer, report to duty shall be compensated for a minimum of 4 hours’ earnings at the employee’s regular rate. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-62-A2(b).

-Laundry Trades-Any female or minor employee employed in the laundry occupation and any adult male employee engaged in production work in the laundry occupation, including piece workers, regularly reporting for work, unless given adequate notice the day before to the contrary, or called for work in any day, shall be assured a minimum of four hours' earnings and shall be paid the minimum rate or his regular rate, whichever is higher, if the employee is able and willing to work for that length of time. Payments shall be made even though no work is provided by the employer, except when the plant's regular working day on Saturday is less than four hours, in which case payment shall he made as above for a minimum of three hours. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-62-B2(c).

-Cleaning and Dyeing Trades-Any employee regularly reporting or called for work in any day shall be assured a minimum of four hours' earnings and shall be paid the minimum rate or his regular rate, whichever is higher, if the employee is able and willing to work for that length of time. Payment shall be made even though no work is provided by the employer, except when there is a suspension of operations due to breakdown or an act of God. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-62-C2(c).

-Mercantile Trade-An employee who, by request or permission of the employer, reports for duty on any day whether or not assigned to actual work shall be compensated for a minimum of four hours’ earnings at the employee’s regular rate. In instances of regularly scheduled employment of less than four hours, as mutually agreed in writing between the employer and employee, and approved by the labor department, this provision may be waived, provided the minimum daily pay in every instance shall be at least twice the applicable minimum hourly rate.   Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-62-D2(d).

-Restaurant and Hotel Restaurant Workers-Any employee regularly reporting for work, unless given adequate notice the day before to the contrary, or any employee called for work in any day shall be assured a minimum of two hours' earnings at not less than the minimum rate if the employee is able and willing to work for the length of time. If the employee is either unwilling or unable to work the number of hours necessary to insure the two-hour guarantee, a statement signed by the employee in support of this situation must be on file as part of the employer's records. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-62-E1(b).

Jury Duty

            Employers must pay full time employees their regular wages for the first five days of jury duty. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-247a. “Full time” for purposes of this requirement is considered 30 hours or more per week of work.   Extreme financial hardship on the part of the employer is not a defense. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-247a(e). For jury service beyond five days, jurors are paid by the state on a per diem basis. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-247(c).


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