Some people mistakenly think that the minimum wage is the same around the country. While it is true that there is a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which took effect way back in 2009, states also have laws pertaining to the minimum wage. Connecticut minimum wage, for example, was raised to $9.15 per hour on January 1, 2015. On January 1, 2016, the Connecticut minimum wage will increase to $9.60 per hour, and on January 1, 2017, it will go up again, to $10.10 per hour.
Minimum wage laws sound very straightforward. However, there are some nuances regarding the minimum wage rate that aren’t well known. For example, employers can pay employees for piecework, or a combination of piecework and hourly wages. However, the employee’s total pay has to at least equal the Connecticut minimum wage per hour.
Some employers pay employees on commission (a percentage of what they sell, for example). Similarly, the base pay plus the commission pay must at least equal the hourly Connecticut minimum wage.
Connecticut law also makes exception for employees who routinely receive tips. Food servers, for example, must be paid 32.8 percent of the minimum wage, and bartenders must be paid 81.5 percent of the minimum wage. Employees in other types of positions who routinely receive gratuities (for example, housekeepers) can’t have their wages reduced more than 35 cents an hour from the minimum wage.
For teenagers who are between 16 and 18 years old, the minimum wage can be reduced by 15 percent for their first 200 hours on the job. After that, they must be paid Connecticut minimum wage.
If you work in Connecticut and are not the hourly wage to which you are entitled, it may be time to contact an employment law attorney. Labor law attorneys can help you sue the employer and recover twice the pay you’re owed, along with court costs and attorney fees.