Continuing the summer series on the basics of various employment laws in Connecticut, one of the issues that employers have questions on is the withholding of wages.

Connecticut’s rule — under Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71e — states that employers may not withhold wages unless one of three exceptions apply:

  1. the employer is required or empowered to do so by state or federal law,
  2. the employer has written authorization from the employee for deductions on a form approved by the commissioner, or
  3. the deductions are authorized by the employee, in writing, for medical, surgical or hospital care or service, without financial benefit to the employer and recorded in the employer’s wage record book.

Therefore a related question is: Can an employer advance vacation pay to an employee and then have the employee be required to pay it back?

Yes, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor. Indeed, it provides an online sample form for an employer to use on its website.  But note that to use this in your company, you must complete it and submit it to the Department of Labor for approval.  Once you receive notice back, this authorization then qualifies under the second exception listed above.

There may be other types of authorizations that you may wish to consider, such as a uniform rental/laundry service. If so, contact the Department of Labor to determine if the agency will bless those deductions.