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You Have The Right To Be Paid For Your Work

You Have The Right To Be Paid For Your Work

April 2017

Do I have the right to be paid the minimum wage?

Federal and state minimum wage laws apply to most employees. Exceptions include certain kinds of farmworkers and waitpersons. The minimum wage for waitpersons is $6.38. In Connecticut, the state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, so that is what your employer must pay you. It is currently $10.10 an hour. This means that for most workers, the employer has to pay you at least $10.10 for every hour that you work.

What if I don't get paid hourly?

Although an employer can offer to pay you at a daily rate, a weekly rate, or at piece-rate, you must still receive at least the minimum wage for each hour of your work.

Do I have the right to get overtime pay?

Overtime laws apply to most employees. The exceptions are mostly managers, administrative employees, and some people with advanced degrees. Federal and state laws on overtime apply whenever you work more than 40 hours in a week. When that happens, then for all the hours that you worked over 40, the employer must pay you one and one-half times your regular hourly rate of pay.

What other wage payment laws apply to me?

Connecticut wage payment laws apply to all employees. Connecticut has a number of laws that protect your right to be paid fairly.

  • Your employer cannot require that you pay money back to them in exchange for giving you a job.
  • Your employer must pay you on a regular basis: either weekly or once every two weeks. In most cases, your employer must pay you within eight days of the week during which you did the work.
  • If you quit, your employer must pay you your final paycheck by the next payday.
  • If you are fired your employer must pay your final paycheck by the next business day.
  • Your employer is only allowed to take money out of your check for taxes, when you have given them written permission, or when a court orders it.
  • If your employer says that you will be paid a certain amount for your work, Connecticut law says that you have the right to be paid that amount. You can bring a claim for wages that are owed to you for up to two years
  • If the evidence shows that an employer has deliberately refused to pay for work you have done, a court can award you double the amount you are owed and order the employer pay all of your attorney’s fees and costs.

What can I do if my rights are being violated?

Usually to make a complaint about violations of wage payment laws, you are going to do one of three things:

1) File a complaint with the CT Department of Labor, Wage and Workplace Standards Division. You can do this by filling out a form. It doesn’t cost you anything and you do not need an attorney. The form is available in English and Spanish at: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/forms-wwsInstruct.htm.

2) Go to small claims court for amounts up to $5,000. You can get the forms you need online (http://www.jud2.ct.gov) or at the nearest courthouse. You will have a hearing in front of a judge, where you can bring documents and witnesses proving that you were not paid wages by your employer.

3) Go to state or federal court. Where the problem involves a larger amount of unpaid wages, or where it affects not just you but a group of workers, it may make sense to bring a claim in state court or in federal court. Usually you will do this with the help of a lawyer who has some experience in bringing claims for unpaid wages.

Are employers allowed to pay women and men differently for the same job?

No. Under federal and state law, if you are a woman doing the same work as a man, you have the right to be paid the same wages.

For immigrant workers: Can my employer refuse to pay me or threaten me because I am undocumented?

No. If the employer refuses to pay you because you are undocumented, they are breaking the law. The law requires employers to pay a worker what is owed, no matter their immigration status. Evidence that an employer has made threats can be used to show that the employer is in willful violation of wage and hour laws. When an employer willfully breaks wage payment laws, a court can order the employer to pay twice the amount of money that is owed to the employee.

This material was prepared by Attorneys Peter Goselin and Alejandra Silva. The information is based upon Connecticut and Federal law in effect as of April 2017, and is intended for general informational purposes. It should not be considered as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an experienced Connecticut attorney about an individual situation.

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