As employers in Connecticut know, state and federal laws differ when it comes to paying overtime. Some employees (like computer professionals) are exempt from overtime obligations under federal law, but not under state law.

The new Paid Sick Leave bill just makes a mess of this distinction even further.


Well, the definition of “service worker” covers only those workers paid on an hourly basis or “not exempt from the minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the regulations promulgated thereunder, as amended from time to time”.

In plain English, it appears to mean that only service workers who are not exempt under federal law are covered by this bill.  It makes no reference to the state law exemptions and thus, it renders state law meaningless in making this determination.

Thus, computer professionals who are paid on a salary basis in Connecticut who are exempt from overtime under federal law (but not exempt under state law) would not be covered under this paid sick leave bill, despite being among the listed occupations.

Confused about the exempt/non-exempt distinction? The Connecticut Department of Labor attempts to clarify the distinction on their website, but as it notes: state and federal law differ.   A full comparison is available here.

In short, when figuring out who is covered, employers should look at the federal law for the overtime exemptions, not state law.