My kids are at overnight camp this week and of course, my brain never stops thinking about cute employment law lessons that can be gleaned from everyday experiences.

So, you may wonder: do camp counselors who, after all, spend 24/7 with the kids, have to be paid minimum wage? And what about babysitters that you may employ over the summer?

If you look at the state law itself (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-60), it seems to require minimum wage:

Any employer who pays or agrees to pay to an employee less than the minimum fair wage or overtime wage shall be deemed in violation of the provisions of this part.

But one of the lessons you learn in law school is that just because the legislature uses the word “employee”, it may not mean what you think it means.

In other words: check the definition.

And sure enough, when you look at the definition of employee in Connecticut, it specifically excludes whole classes of people.

“Employee” means any individual employed or permitted to work by an employer but shall not include any individual employed in camps or resorts which are open no more than six months of the year … or any individual engaged in baby sitting ….

So, in some circumstances, those employees of camps aren’t really employees under state wage & hour law. (Federal law has an exemption as well, though with different requirements.)

Thus, for camps, a whole other set of requierments may apply.  (For any camps out there, before you start changing all your rules, please note that there are lots of other regulations that may apply, as noted in this detailed summary by the American Camp Association. Seek your appropriate legal counsel.)

But for the rest of us, it may be summer, but there are always lessons you can learn — even from camp.