This is Part 2 in a 6-part series on Connecticut Employment Laws You Didn’t Know Existed
Many employers are unaware of a Connecticut employment law essentially requiring offer letters. Employers must, at the time of hiring, advise employees as to their rate of pay, hours of employment, and wage payment schedule. The statute also requires employers to make available policies and practices related to wages, vacation pay, sick leave, health and welfare benefits, and comparable matters. This can be done in writing or through posted notices. If these policies change, employees must be notified in writing or through posted notices.
Now that you know about these requirements, how do you comply? It is not difficult to comply with this statute, but many employers, particularly small ones, take a casual approach to hiring and do not put these employment terms in writing. In a simple offer letter, set out the employee’s start date, position, rate of pay, work schedule, payment schedule (the day of the week, whether bi-weekly or weekly, etc.), and any benefits you wish to emphasize. While these are not all required, this letter is a useful vehicle to welcome the new employee on board and clarify the details of the employment relationship. If the employee is at-will, it is a good idea to mention this in the offer letter as well. Likewise, it is wise to mention that the terms set out are the current terms, but they can be modified by the employer at any time unless constrained by law or contract.
The requirement to make certain policies available to employees is easily accomplished with an employee handbook. If any policies change, the handbook should be updated. Some employers do not have employee handbooks. While an employee handbook is a good idea even for small employers, if there is no handbook, you can comply with this law by creating policy statements on wages, vacation pay, sick leave, health and welfare benefits, and any comparable matters and issuing these statements to employees.
Although this law imposes some burdens on employers, and noncompliance can lead to penalties, these are steps employers should be taking anyway. Keeping employees informed of workplace policies minimizes confusion that can be the source of employee resentment or even litigation borne out of a misunderstanding. Our team of labor and employment attorneys would be happy to assist you in formulating written policies or assisting with any employee issue.