GA2It’s been a long-time coming but the General Assembly finally approved of a measure that would allow employers to pay employees on a bi-weekly basis without receiving prior CTDOL approval.

The provision, part of a set of “technical” revisions to various Department of Labor matters, is long overdue.

Several employers had moved to a bi-weekly payroll scheme without realizing that they needed approval from the CTDOL beforehand.  That approval won’t be required anymore (assuming this bill is approved by the governor).

I’ve previously discussed the requirement so now employers who have been wary about seeking such approval, can just move ahead on their own.

Senate Bill 220 also makes lots of technical changes to the unemployment compensation scheme and even to drug testing (getting rid of the suggesting that the DOL develop some regulations in this area).  These probably won’t be of interest to most employers, but it’s worth a look through the bill summary to see if something else touches on your industry.

The measure will become effective when the Governor signs the overall bill.  (Other provisions in the bill go into effect October 1, 2016.)

Sure, the headline is click-bait. Designed to get your attention.

But it’s actually true.  Connecticut law requires employers in Connecticut to pay their employees on a weekly basis.  Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-71b states it in sorta plain English.

[E]ach employer … shall pay weekly all moneys due each employee on a regular pay day, designated in advance by the employer …

And the law goes further pay specifying that the pay day can’t be too far in advance:

The end of the pay period for which payment is made on a regular pay day shall be not more than eight days before such regular pay day, provided, if such regular pay day falls on a nonwork day, payment shall be made on the preceding work day.

So, is that it? The end of the story.

Fortunately, no. The Connecticut Department of Labor routinely grants waivers of the weekly pay requirement at least to go to bi-weekly pay.   In Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71i, it states:

The commissioner may, upon application, waive the provisions of section 31-71b with respect to any particular week or weeks, and may also, upon application, permit any employer subject to the provisions of this section to establish regular payday less frequently than weekly, provided each employee affected shall be paid in full at least once in each calendar month on a regularly established schedule.

How does an employer do this? If you are seeking a waiver to pay bi-weekly (26 times a year), then you can fill out a form online here.

Semi-monthly pay and monthly pay waivers are less common and employers need increasingly important reasons to go to such a system.  Employers who wish to do so, can send a letter to the Connecticut Department of Labor to do so.

Employers who fail to get a waiver do open themselves up to significant fines. While the Connecticut DOL seeks compliance in this area more than penalties, it’s not a risk that employers need to take.

If you need help filing out the form, talk to your local counsel.

In my continuing series of posts this summer on recurring issues in employment law, this week I’ll address the payment of wages and the question: Can I pay my employees on a bi-weekly basis?

The answer to that question is “no” — at least not without a waiver from the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Connecticut law requires that all employees be paid on a weekly basis.  But the law also allows the CTDOL to grant waivers upon requests by employers.

Bi-weekly payment of wages waivers are fairly routine and routinely granted. They are so routine that the DOL has created an online form. Typically (though not always), the DOL does not look to see whether the employer was actually engaged in this practice beforehand and is satisfied with the employer’s newfound compliance.

For semi-monthly and monthly payment of wages, the DOL has granted waivers on a much more limited basis.  The employer in those cases must typically show some extraordinary need.  Otherwise, the request will be denied, more often than not.

If you haven’t been complying with this law, seek legal counsel to discuss the legal issues in play and understand the consequences of non-compliance.

Finishing up the summer series of some of the basics of Connecticut employment law, I turn back to a wage & hour topic that comes up much more than you might think.

Connecticut’s wage payment laws (including Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71b) are quite clear: Employees must be paid wages on a weekly basis.  In addition, the employees must be paid within 8 days of the close of a pay period.

In practice, this means that employers typically have a pay period that runs either Sunday to Saturday or Monday to Sunday.

Upon the close of the pay period, the employer collects the time sheets, calculates overtime, and then "runs" the payroll.  For many employers, they can they make payments on Thursday or Friday (for the prior week.)

While that is the general rule, the law also allows employers to apply for a waiver of that requirement with the Department of Labor (Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71i)

For approval of a bi-weekly payroll system, the Department has an easy online form that employers can fill out here

For anything further, a letter is required.  Semi-monthly and monthly payment of wages are not looked on favorably by the Department of Labor so employers must make a fairly compelling reason for that request.  

And what is you’re one of those employers that hasn’t been following the rules to date? Work with an attorney or the Department of Labor to get into compliance as soon as possible.  That may mean asking for approval retroactively or changing the system of pay that you already have.

Given the typically slower summer months, I’m going to highlight some basic Connecticut employment laws that most employers should be familiar with (but that some may not).  Picking up on yesterday’s post, it’ll be entitled "The Basics" and hopefully will run at least once every week.

Today’s topic: Weekly Payment of Wages.

Photo credit: Morguefile

Connecticut law (Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71b) provides that employers in Connecticut have to pay their employees on a weekly basis. Not every other week. Not twice a month.

For multi-state employers on may have a bi-weekly payroll schedule across the country, this can cause a few headaches (though most payroll companies have long since been able to adapt payroll schedules on a state-by-state basis). 

But of course, there’s a big exception to this:  Employers can ask the Department of Labor for a waiver. Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-71i provides that the department  has the discretion to grant or deny such a waiver, so long as the employee is paid at least once a month.  

To request a bi-weekly payment schedule, in fact, the Conn. DOL has set up an online form that the employer can fill out; these requests are typically granted by the CTDOL.  

For employers who request a semi-monthly or even monthly pay schedules, those requests have to be sent directly to the Department of Labor. Those are typically scrutinized in much more detail and there ought to be a pretty good rationale behind that request.