Employment laws for minors in Connecticut

Michael Major

Teenagers make up close to ten percent of the approximately 320 million U.S. residents. For these millions of potential workers, understanding how federal and state-specific employment law applies to minors is important. Here, we discuss some of Connecticut employment laws that are specific to minors.1

Minimum wage

In Connecticut, the minimum wage for the vast majority of workers is $10.10 per hour, with the primary exception being service workers, who receive part of their income from tips. However, that rate does not apply universally to minors. For example, minors in Connecticut may be paid 85 percent of the state's minimum wage -- $8.59 per hour -- for the first 200 hours of their employment. Additionally, minors working for the government or in the agricultural sector can be paid at the 85 percent rate regardless of the number of hours they've worked until they reach of age of 18.

Time and hour restrictions

In Connecticut, the amount of time a minor can work in a day, the cumulative amount of time worked in a week, and the time of day one is permitted to work depends primarily on the age of the worker, the industry of employment, whether the person is enrolled in school, and whether school is in session at the time. As one would expect, time and hour restrictions are greatest for the youngest workers. Thirteen- to 15-year-olds can generally only work when school is not in session, which is defined as being closed for at least five consecutive days. Additionally, they may only work between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., except from July 1st to the first Monday in September, when 15-year-olds may work until 9 p.m. Thirteen- to 15-year-olds are also prohibited from working overtime, which is defined as more than eight hours in a day and/or 40 hours in a week.

Sixteen- and 17-year-olds have their own unique set of time and hour restrictions. The limitations vary depending on industry of employment; but as a general guideline, most are restricted to six hours per day and 32 hours per week when school is in session, and eight hours per day and 48 hours per week when it is not.

The requirements also vary for those not enrolled in school. Teenagers not enrolled who have not graduated have restrictions on the number of hours they can work in a day and the number of cumulative hours in a week based on the sector in which they are employed. However, in all employment sectors they are limited to working a maximum of six days per week. Individuals who have graduated from high school but are still minors can work at the same daily and weekly hours and times of day as adults.

Prohibited places of employment

In addition to the restrictions placed on the times and hours minors are allowed to work, there are also restrictions on the types of jobs in which they can be employed. For instance, all minors are prohibited from working in occupations designated as hazardous by the Department of Labor by the FLSA. In addition, Connecticut law is more restrictive than the federal law in some instances.

In Connecticut, there is a list of prohibited occupations and places of employment for all minors under the age of 18 (except for those who have graduated), and a more restrictive list that only applies to persons aged 14 and 15. One of the key differences between the groups is that the 14- and 15-year-olds are not permitted to work in the restaurant/food service industry or recreational establishments. For an exhaustive list of permitted and prohibited places of employment based on age, one should consult the Connecticut Department of Labor website at http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/.

Minors who are high school graduates are exempt from the Connecticut prohibitions on employment for minors, but are still subject to the federal prohibitions on hazardous jobs for minors.

Employment law help

The legal team at SFMS has substantial experience litigating employment matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Nick Lussier (nlussier@sfmslaw.com) or Chiharu Sekino (csekino@sfmslaw.com). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP, is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. SFMS is an active member of Integrated Advisory Group (www.iaginternational.org), which provides our firm with the ability to provide our clients with access to excellent legal and accounting resources throughout the globe. For more information about our firm, please visit us at www.sfmslaw.com.


1In Connecticut, the minimum age to be legally employed is 14. Therefore, the term "minor" in this article only refers to individuals between the ages of 14 and 17.