This is Part 1 in a 6-part series on Connecticut Employment Laws You Didn’t Know Existed.
Do you pay your employees at least weekly? If you answered no, you are in good company. Bi-weekly pay (paying employees every two weeks) is probably the most common choice of pay frequency. However, a quirky feature of Connecticut’s wage payment statute makes weekly payment the default rule. For most employers, the only way to pay less frequently than once a week is to obtain permission from the Commissioner of Labor.
Fortunately, it is very easy to request permission to pay bi-weekly. Employers can simply fill out the form available at http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/forms/paywaiver.htm, and within a few weeks, the Connecticut Department of Labor will respond. The request is almost always granted. This form can only be used by employers requesting permission to pay bi-weekly. Employers that wish to pay less frequently (e.g. semi-monthly or monthly) can send a letter to the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Wage and Workplace Standards division stating the reason for the request. However, such requests are less likely to be granted. Paying less frequently than monthly is not permitted.
Can a collective bargaining agreement specify less frequent pay? Local or regional boards of education and three specified “state-aided institutions” (The American School at Hartford for the Deaf, The Connecticut Institute for the Blind, and Newington Children’s Hospital) can enter into collective bargaining agreements for pay that is less frequent than weekly, without seeking permission from the Commissioner of Labor. Otherwise, permission is required.
While some employers may be nervous about submitting such a request if they have already been paying bi-weekly out of fear it will trigger an audit, it is almost always better to become compliant with the law than to continue to be out of compliance. Generally, the Connecticut Department of Labor will not audit or otherwise penalize an employer because it is attempting to come into compliance. If you ever are audited, you will be glad you corrected any problems as soon as you became aware of them.
There are many little-known nuances to Connecticut’s employment law, which can make compliance difficult for even the best-intentioned employers. Our team of labor and employment attorneys would be happy to assist you in identifying and fixing areas of non-compliance before they turn into expensive audits or litigation.