Paid Holidays in Connecticut (2024 Guide for Employers)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that dictates how businesses across the U.S. have to handle certain leave situations. Not once does it state that a business owner in Connecticut has to offer paid holidays to employees. Despite this, many Connecticut business owners opt into offering paid holidays anyway. Why?

In this post we’re going to answer this question and many others when it comes to handling paid holidays. We’ll go into topics such as:

  • An overview of Paid Holidays
  • How Paid Holidays impact the public sector vs the private sector
  • Federal vs State Holidays
  • Connecticut-specific Paid Holidays
  • The Benefits of Offering Paid Holiday Time
  • Other FAQs
  • How Buddy Punch helps you conquer Paid Holidays

By the end of this post, you should be equipped with everything you need to know about handling Paid Holidays in Connecticut.

What is a Paid Holiday?

A paid holiday is a national, state, or religious holiday that Connecticut employers have the eligibility to grant employees. If you choose to do so, your employees will be compensated a full day’s worth of wages for their day off.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80% of workers in private industries have paid holidays off. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Offering paid holidays in your benefits package makes it easier to attract high-quality talent to your business.
  • Paid holidays give employees time to relax and even-out their work-life balance.
  • When workers return to your business after a paid holiday, they’re usually more ready to work.

Overall, paid holidays can be mutually beneficial for both private employers and employees.

Who do Paid Holidays apply to?

Only public employers are required to offer paid vacations to their employees. Public sector employees work for agencies at the municipal, state, or federal level.

That said, private employers have the option to offer paid holidays to their employees if they wish, through written agreements such as PTO policies or employment contracts. Once you’ve outlined paid leave parameters, you are held to them by law.

Federal Holidays

The list of all federal holidays to be observed throughout the 2024 calendar year (regardless of what state you’re in) and the date they fall on is as follows:

  • New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 15)
  • George Washington’s Birthday / President’s Day (Monday, February 19 – third Monday in February)
  • Memorial Day (Monday, May 27 – last Monday in May)
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day (Wednesday, June 19)
  • Independence Day (Thursday, July 4)
  • Labor Day (Monday, September 2)
  • Columbus Day (Monday, October 14 – second Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (Monday, November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28)
  • Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25)

It’s worth noting how some states change the official names of some of these holidays. For example, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is known as Robert E. Lee Day in some southern states.

Any legal holiday that happens to fall on a Saturday results in employees having the preceding Friday before the holiday off. If a federal holiday happens to land on a Sunday, employees get a day off the following Monday.

Holidays Specific to the State of Connecticut

Impact of Common Connecticut Leave Laws

While we’re observing the overall impact of paid holidays on work hours, let’s take a look at Connecticut’s Labor Laws.

Sick Time

Connecticut’s Sick Leave Law is currently in the process of expanding as of this post’s writing.

As of right now, employees in certain service occupations (such as registered nurses, food preparation workers, retail workers, etc.) working for an employer with 50 or more workers may be covered by the Connecticut Paid Sick Time law. In such cases, workers earn 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. This does not cover businesses with less than 50 employees, federal employees, or temporary laborers.

However, Governor Ned Lamont recently signed a law expanding paid sick days to almost all Connecticut workers, which is designed to be phased in over the next three years.

Vacation Leave and Holiday Time

Neither Vacation nor Holiday Leave are required under Connecticut law. That said, an employer has to comply with any vacation leave terms they establish in their own company policy or employment contract. If an employer requires employees to work on a holiday, they do not have to pay holiday pay (unless they outline as much in an employee agreement.)

Parental Leave

All Connecticut employers with one or more employees are required to participate in Connecticut’s Paid Leave program. Since January 1, 2022, this program provides employees with 12 weeks of paid leave, with an additional two weeks available to eligible employees who experience a pregnancy-related serious health condition. An employee becomes eligible for these Paid Leave benefits if they have earned wages of at least $2325 in the highest-earning quarter of the first four of the five most recently completed quarters and they are currently employed with a covered Connecticut employer.

Qualifying employees are eligible to request leave under this law for the following reasons:

  • Creating or expanding their family, either by birth, adoption or foster care.
  • To serve as a bone marrow or organ donor.
  • If during pregnancy or after childbirth, a healthcare provider determines that an individual may need a bit more time for recovery, individuals may apply for an extra 2 weeks of leave.
  • To care for their own medical or psychological health condition, including injuries.
  • To care for a family member suffering from a medical or psychological health condition
  • If an employee is experiencing family violence, they can apply to take up to 12 days of leave
  • To care for a family member if injured during active duty and for various other reasons related to when a family member is called to active duty.

Additionally, Connecticut’s Sick Leave law allows up to three days to be deducted from sick leave by mothers or fathers in connection with the birth, adoption, custodial care of a child, or for the prenatal or postnatal care of a spouse.

Bereavement Leave

Connecticut allows sick leave accruals to be used for Family Death as well as Funeral leave.

In the case of family death, a maximum of five working days per calendar year for each immediate family death is allowed. Immediate family is considered a spouse, child, father, mother, sister, brother, or any relative living in your home.

In the case of funeral leave, employees are allowed to take off for time necessary to go to, attend, and return from funerals for people not in their immediate family. Up to a total three days per calendar year may be used for funeral leave. In some instances, due to distance, more than one day may be approved for a single funeral.

Jury Duty

Connecticut state law prohibits employers from dismissing, threatening, or coercing employees who are summoned for jury service, respond to a jury summons, or serve as a juror. Full time employed jurors (those normally required to work at least 30 hours per week) are paid their regular wages by their employers for the first 5 days of jury service. Beginning on the 6th day of jury service, all jurors are paid $50.00 per day by the state, regardless of their employment status.

Voting

Connecticut allows voters to request 2 hours of unpaid leave on Election Day if requested up to two days beforehand.

Overtime Pay

Employers must pay one and a half times an employee’s regular rate of pay for every hour exceeding forty hours in the workweek. There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Agricultural employees
  • Executive, administrative, professional employees as defined by the Labor Commissioner
  • Any salesman primarily engaged in selling automobiles.
  • Any driver or helper where the U.S. Secretary of Transportation has the power to establish qualifications and minimum hours of service
  • Any outside salesperson as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Read our guide here for a more comprehensive look at how Connecticut Law affects your workplace.

The Benefits of Paid Holidays

With Connecticut requiring so many paid leave types by law, you may be tempted to opt out of offering more paid holidays to your team members. There is an understandable temptation to say that the offerings through the state are enough.

However, your perspective might shift once you consider the many ways paid holidays (and breaks of any kind) can actually improve your workforce. Here are three of the top positive impacts they have:

1. Paid Holidays Improve Your Hiring Capabilities

Want high-quality workers on your team? Data shows that your offerings of paid holidays can be a great way to attract high-quality talent to your business (and also a way to keep them, considering 35% of quitting workers do so due to lack of good health insurance and paid time off benefits).

High-quality workers are the types of employees that drastically improve your business capabilities, which is a big boon for productivity and profitability.

2. Paid Holidays Boost Company Morale

A paid holiday gives employees time to recuperate stress-free, since they’re getting paid for the time they’re not spending at work. Being able to relax about financials, even for a brief moment, while they concentrate on enjoying their time off with friends and family can do wonders for their mental health. When they come back into work, they’re doing so refreshed, which means better work and better cooperability. This creates a positive feedback loop in your company environment.

3. Paid Holidays Generate Money (in the long-term)

This benefit might seem counterintuitive. When you look at the immediate effect of a paid holiday, it seems like they’re costing you money and giving employees a day off for free. However, that’s only the immediate effect of a paid holiday, not its impact on your business over months and years.

Like we mentioned in the previous benefit, a paid holiday gives your employees space to recover mentally to produce better work. This in and of itself helps your company produce better results.

There’s also the unfortunate truth of what happens in the opposite situation: in an environment where your employees aren’t being offered days off and the work environment is stressed. These are prime conditions for an employee to outright quit. Beyond the time it takes to replace a worker in such a situation, there’s also the financial impact. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates that replacing a team member costs around six to nine months of an employee’s salary.

When you consider these three benefits, paid holidays quickly become worth the cost.

Track Paid Holidays and Employee Leave with Buddy Punch

Now that we’ve thoroughly explained all things paid holiday and leave as it concerns Connecticut business owners, it’s time to help you manage this all in one place. While there are quite a few employee management solutions on the market these days, we can’t help but shine a light on our very own tool, Buddy Punch.

While we are biased towards our own creation, we feel there’s good reason behind our tool being used by over 10,000 business owners for their paid leave, employee management, and scheduling needs.

For example, Buddy Punch’s PTO Management Feature gives employers the ability to track the most common Paid Time Off types in addition to being able to create custom ones at will. Furthermore, if an employee sends in a leave request, you can set it up so that you or your administrators are notified. From there, it’s easy to approve or deny your team members’ leave requests. You also get PTO Accruals, which allows you to set up rules such as allowing or disallowing negative balances, choosing maximum hours for your employees to accrue, setting accrual carry over rules, and more.

Buddy Punch also takes it a step further. We offer a self-service option for PTO, which you can use for trusted employees. If enabled, this feature will automatically approve them for their leave requests. Perfect for you to focus on optimizing your business in other areas.

And that’s just a demonstration of how much freedom you get with one specific tool we have. Buddy Punch opens up the options for business owners in all things employee management, from employee time tracking to staff scheduling and even built-in payroll. Click here to learn more about what Buddy Punch has to offer.

Managing paid holidays and leave can be a hassle, but it’s worth it for your business, and can be made much easier with a tool like Buddy Punch in your corner. Even though paid holidays are largely optional, choosing to offer them can help your business move towards greater success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

So, offering PTO of any kind is optional in Connecticut?

Offering paid holidays is optional for private business owners, but Sick Leave and Parental Leave are required by many employers in Connecticut depending on business size, with rules set to expand in future years. Additionally, Connecticut’s sick leave is pretty flexible in its application.

How long has Sick Leave been mandatory in Connecticut?

Since 2012, but on May 6, 2024, a law was signed by the Connecticut House, Senate, and Governor that will expand the availability of paid sick time to nearly every employee in Connecticut by 2027.

Do employers tend to offer employees all 11 paid federal holidays?

According to a survey conducted by Zippia, the average U.S. employees receive 7.6 paid holidays. The two most common paid holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas, while President’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the two least common.

How much is the minimum wage in Connecticut?

As of January 1, 2024, Connecticut’s minimum wage is $15.69 per hour.

Official State Resources

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

This blog post provides a general overview of Connecticut Holiday & Paid Leave Laws but does not constitute legal advice, nor does it replace an attorney-client relationship. Laws and regulations are subject to change, and there may be additional requirements or exemptions that apply to specific situations. Employers and employees should consult a qualified labor law attorney for advice on their specific circumstances.

If you have any questions about your rights or obligations as an employer or employee in Connecticut, it is essential to consult with a labor law attorney or employment lawyer to receive accurate information and guidance tailored to your situation. By seeking professional legal advice, you can ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to comply with labor laws and protect your rights.

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