Guide to Connecticut employee benefits and HR rules

As a human resources professional or private employer with employees in Connecticut, you need to know which employee benefits and policies the Constitution State requires.

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Is your organization compliant with Connecticut's employment and HR laws?

If you're based in Connecticut or employ workers there, it's important to familiarize yourself with the state's benefits and HR compliance laws. This guide to HR laws in Connecticut will provide a general overview of the laws you need to know.

Topics covered in this guide include:

What are an employee’s rights in Connecticut?

State and federal laws protect employee rights. If you currently have or plan to hire workers in the state, you must know what rights your employees have.

Some Connecticut-specific state rights include:

  • At-will employment
    • Connecticut is an at-will employment state. This means either the employer or employee may end the employment relationship at any time. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Connecticut recognizes wrongful termination claims for at-will employees if the discharge goes against a clear public policy mandate.
    • Connecticut allows employees to sue for wrongful termination based on an implied contract. The employee must prove that the employer has agreed not to terminate them without just cause.
  • Equal pay
    • Employers in Connecticut can't pay employees differently based on their gender, and they can't retaliate against employees who report discriminatory practices.
    • Employers can differ employee pay based on seniority or factors like education.
  • Pay transparency
    • Public Act No. 15-196 prohibits employers from preventing employees from disclosing or discussing their wages with other employees.
    • Employers don’t need to share their employees’ wages.
  • Freedom of speech and conscience
    • This law prohibits employers from disciplining or firing employees for exercising their First Amendment rights. It holds them liable for any resulting loss of wages. Exemptions apply to religious organizations and certain educational institutions.

What are employers required to provide to Connecticut employees?

In addition to what federal law requires, Connecticut employment law mandates employers to provide eligible employees with specific employee benefits and accommodations.

Required benefits include:

  • Retirement benefits
    • In Connecticut, employers with five or more employees earning $5,000 or more in a calendar year must participate in MyCTSavings or sponsor another qualified retirement plan.
  • Court and jury duty leave
    • Connecticut employers must pay full-time employees for the first five days of jury duty unless excused by the court administrator.
    • An employer can't punish an employee for responding to a jury summons.
    • Employees can take unpaid leave to respond to legal obligations, participate in court proceedings related to criminal cases, and obtain restraining orders for family violence situations.
  • Voting leave
    • Connecticut state law requires employers to offer employees two hours of unpaid time off to vote in state or special elections. Employees must request this leave at least two working days before the election.
  • Parental leave
    • The Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires private-sector employers with at least one employee to provide up to 12 weeks of leave during any 12-month period to eligible employees for reasons like caring for a newborn or a family member with a serious health condition. This leave is unpaid, but employees may use accrued paid leave before unpaid leave begins.
  • Pregnancy disability leave
    • Connecticut employees can take unpaid leave for pregnancy-related disabilities, but employers don't have to provide leave if another reasonable accommodation is available.
  • Breaks to express milk
    • Connecticut requires employers to give nursing mothers time to express breast milk. They can't discriminate or take adverse employment actions against employees for doing so.
    • Employers must make an effort to provide employees who are nursing mothers with private spaces to express breast milk. The locations need to be near a refrigerator and include access to an electrical outlet.
  • Meal breaks
    • In Connecticut, employers must give employees a 30-minute meal break if they work 7.5 consecutive hours or more. The break should be after the first two hours and before the last two hours of work.
    • Employers are exempt from this rule under the following conditions:
      • Meeting this requirement would pose a risk to public safety.
      • The duties of the position can only be fulfilled by a single employee.
      • The employer has fewer than five employees working on that particular shift at that specific location.
      • The employees need to be available to respond to urgent conditions, and the employer compensates them for their meal period.
  • Sick leave
    • Connecticut requires that employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, with a maximum accrual of 40 hours per year. The law applies to employers with 50 or more employees, excluding certain categories such as most manufacturers.
  • Military and National Guard leave
    • Members of the Armed Forces employed in Connecticut are entitled to leave from work for military duty if they receive orders to perform such duty during their regular work hours.
    • Civil air patrol members in Connecticut can take leave for emergencies the governor or U.S. president declares. They can also take leave to participate in required training.
  • Emergency response leave
    • Employers in Connecticut must provide leave to employees who serve as emergency responders, such as volunteer firefighters and ambulance drivers.
  • Victims of family violence leave
    • Under the CT Family Violence Leave Act, employers must provide up to 12 days of unpaid leave to employees for the specified family violence reasons below. A worker may also apply to CT Paid Leave for up to 12 days of income replacement benefits for these same reasons:
      • To seek medical care, psychological care, or other counseling
      • To obtain services from a victim services organization
      • To relocate due to family violence
      • To participate in any civil or criminal proceeding related to family violence
  • Workers' compensation
    • The Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act applies to all employers in Connecticut except those with household employees working fewer than 26 hours per week. Employees who get hurt or sick on the job may be able to receive benefits administered by the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission.
    • Connecticut's mini-COBRA applies to small employers with fewer than 20 employees. Under this law, employers must offer continuation coverage to employees who are leaving the company and would otherwise lose their health insurance. Organizations with 20 or more employees are subject to federal COBRA.

Connecticut doesn’t require the following benefits:

Health insurance coverage in Connecticut

Even if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doesn’t require you to provide health insurance to your employees if you have fewer than 50 FTEs, health benefits are an excellent way to attract and retain top talent, especially in a tight labor market. However, rising premium costs have made it challenging for small and medium-sized businesses to offer traditional group health insurance.

The chart below shows the difference in monthly premiums for gold-equivalent small group health insurance and gold-level individual health insurance coverage in Connecticut's three most populated counties.


Group coverage premium cost for a 27-year-old

Individual gold-level premium cost for a 27-year-old

Group coverage premium cost for a 50-year-old

Individual gold-level premium cost for a 50-year-old











New Haven





If group health insurance is out of your price range, you can make it easier for your employees to afford health plans of their own.

Health reimbursement arrangement (HRA)

A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) is an IRS-approved, employer-funded health benefit that allows you to reimburse your employees, tax-free, for their individual health coverage premiums and other qualifying medical expenses, depending on the type of plan you offer.

With an HRA, you have complete control over your benefits budget while giving your employees more freedom to choose how they want to use their benefits. You simply set a monthly allowance that fits your budget, and your employees request reimbursement for eligible expenses. Then, you reimburse your employees up to their available allowance.

Some HRAs, such as the individual coverage HRA (ICHRA), can satisfy the federal regulations for applicable large employers (ALEs). This allows organizations of all sizes that offer an HRA to save money on their health benefits.

Learn more about each HRA


For employers with 1-49 employees


A simple, controlled-cost alternative to group health insurance.




For employers of all sizes


A flexible health benefit that can be used alone or alongside group health insurance.




For employers offering group health insurance


A group health supplement to help employees with out-of-pocket expenses.



Health stipend

A health stipend is a fixed sum of money offered to your employees to help pay for their healthcare expenses. A health employee stipend isn't a formal group health plan, so you have complete control over which expenses are eligible for reimbursement.

This makes a health stipend an excellent option for small businesses looking to offer a health benefit that covers costs health insurance or HRAs may not cover, such as mental health expenses.

However, a stipend doesn’t satisfy the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, and all reimbursements are taxable for employers and employees.

Learn all about employee stipends with our ultimate guide

Wage laws in Connecticut

There are various federal and state laws you need to consider when it comes to setting employee wages in Connecticut.

Minimum wage laws

The minimum wage in Connecticut is higher than the federal minimum wage rate. Minimum wage workers receive $15.69 per hour as of 2024.

Connecticut employers can pay minors a subminimum wage of 85% of the minimum wage for the first 90 days of their employment.

There are three exceptions to this rule:

  • Minors who work for the government
  • Minors who work at farms
  • Minors who work more than 200 hours for the same employer

Tipped employees

In Connecticut, there are two categories of tipped employees: bartenders with a minimum hourly wage of $8.23 and hotel/restaurant employees with a minimum hourly wage of $6.38. Employers must make up the difference if an employee’s tips and base pay don't reach the state's minimum wage requirement of $15.69.

Payment of wages

Connecticut employers must pay their employees weekly. If payday falls on a day off, payment is due the day before.

Overtime requirements

Employees in Connecticut who work more than 40 hours are entitled to an overtime rate of one and a half times their regular pay. There are some exceptions to the overtime wage, including agricultural workers, executive and administrative employees, and automobile salespeople.

Final pay

When an employer terminates an employee in Connecticut, the employer must pay all wages they owe by the end of the following business day. When an employee quits, the employer must pay the employee all wages due by the next regular payday. If an employee leaves due to a labor dispute, the employer must also pay them by the next regular payday.

Record-keeping laws

Connecticut employers must keep accurate records on employees for three years after termination. The records must contain:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Specific job titles and occupations
  • Total wages
  • Overtime pay
  • All wages for each pay period
  • Any additions/subtractions from regular wages during the designated period
  • Working certificates of underage employees

Child labor laws in Connecticut

In Connecticut, the minimum age for employment is typically 14. Once a person reaches 16 years old, an employer can hire them with a permit.

There are rules for workplaces that employ minors, including limits on work hours. You can find these laws on the Connecticut Department of Labor website. Once a person turns 18, there are no longer restrictions on the hours they can work.

Other HR rules in Connecticut

There are a few other HR rules you need to be aware of in Connecticut.

Sexual harassment training

Connecticut employers with three or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to new employees within six months of their start date. The training should last at least two hours and include information on sexual harassment and the procedure to follow if it occurs.

Occupational safety

Along with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, Connecticut has additional guidelines in place to ensure workplace safety. Employers must provide proper training, education, and ongoing assistance to their employees to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Polygraph testing

Connecticut employers can't request or require a prospective employee or current employee to take a polygraph test as a condition of employment.

Social media regulations

Employers in Connecticut can't request certain information from the personal social media accounts of potential and current employees. This includes login information and account access. They also can't accept employee invitations or send employees invitations to join any groups.

Employee monitoring

Employers in Connecticut are prohibited from using electronic surveillance devices to monitor employees in personal areas of the workplace. This includes bathrooms, lounges, and locker rooms. Connecticut also prohibits the use of listening devices in employment contract negotiations.

Employment discrimination

The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Status as a veteran
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence

Background checks

In Connecticut, employers have the option to conduct background checks on their employees but must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations if they choose to do so.

Marijuana use

In Connecticut, both medical and recreational marijuana are legal. The state doesn’t require employers to accommodate employees who are under the influence of cannabis or allow them to use it while working. However, qualifying patients can possess palliative cannabis. Employers can have a policy prohibiting cannabis use by employees, with some exceptions.

No smoking

Connecticut employers with five or more employees must ban smoking in any business facility they control, although they have the option to designate smoking rooms. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide designated non-smoking work areas upon request by any employee.

Drug testing

In Connecticut, employers can't make prospective employees take a drug test unless certain conditions are met:

  • The employer notifies the applicant in writing about their plan to conduct a drug test at the time of application.
  • The test follows legal procedures that dictate the methodology for conducting such tests.
  • The employer gives the applicant a copy of any positive drug test result.

Employers are required to keep drug test results confidential. They should be treated the same as employee medical records and kept separately from personnel records. Additionally, Connecticut employers can't require random drug tests without reasonable suspicion of intoxication.

Immigration verification

Connecticut doesn't have additional employment verification procedures for employers beyond Federal I-9 compliance, and there is no state requirement to use E-Verify.

Weapons in the workplace

Employers in Connecticut can establish policies that prohibit employees from carrying weapons at work or bringing weapons to the workplace, regardless of whether the employee holds a state permit to carry a gun.


Frequently asked questions

What is the hourly minimum wage in Connecticut?

The minimum wage in Connecticut increased to $15.69 per hour in 2024.

Is Connecticut a right-to-work state?

No. Connecticut is not a right-to-work state.

Does at-will employment exist in Connecticut?

Yes. Connecticut is an at-will employment state. The employer or employee may end their employment relationship at any time.

Do Connecticut employers have to provide retirement benefits?

Yes. Connecticut employers with five or more employees must participate in MyCTSavings if they don't sponsor another qualified retirement plan.

This guide is intended for educational purposes only, meaning you shouldn’t take it as tax or legal advice. If you’re unsure about employment laws in Connecticut, you don’t have to figure it out alone. Contact a legal advisor or other professional for assistance and specific regulations for your organization.


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