Connecticut Becomes the Latest State to Have a $15 Minimum Wage

May 29, 2019
| David Pearson
Connecticut $15 Minimum Wage

Minimum wage has been a closely monitored and highly debated subject at both the state and federal levels in recent years. While the last federal minimum wage increase was 10 years ago, states have taken it upon themselves to raise wages for workers.

In 2019 alone, three states already have passed legislation to increase their minimum wages to $15 an hour, including New Jersey. And recently, a fourth has been added to this list.

In mid-May, the Connecticut Legislature passed a bill that would gradually increase the state’s minimum wage until it hits $15 in 2023. With Governor Ned Lamont pledging to sign the bill, Connecticut would become the 7th state to enact a $15 minimum wage.

Let’s take a closer look at this new law, important dates to know, and what it means for employers and employees in the state.
 

Connecticut Will Soon Have a $15 Minimum Wage

Currently, the minimum wage in Connecticut is $10.10 an hour. But once the new bill is signed by Governor Lamont, the minimum wage would increase to $11 in October of this year, and then increase $1 each year until it hits $15.

Here is a look at the minimum wage hike schedule under the bill:
 
  • $11 on October 1, 2019
  • $12 on September 1, 2020
  • $13 on August 1, 2021
  • $14 on July 1, 2022
  • $15 on June 1, 2023

Once the state’s minimum wage hits $15, it would then be adjusted based on the federal Employment Cost Index, meaning the minimum wage could increase even more after 2023.

State officials say the new law will benefit more than 330,000 workers in Connecticut who currently work for minimum wage.
 

Are There Exceptions Under the Law?

As with most employment legislation, there are exceptions under the minimum wage bill – most of which were aimed at appeasing employers who were concerned about increasing pay.

The most notable exception involves younger workers in the state who are hired mainly for summer employment. The law will allow employers to pay a “training wage” of $10.10 an hour to workers who are less than 18 years old and work under 90 days a year.

The bill does have a clause that aims to prevent employers from replacing older workers for younger employees who can be paid the training wage, essentially saving on wage costs.

Additionally, the restaurant industry will see a lower minimum wage for those individuals who receive tips (waiters, bartenders, etc.).
 

Not Everyone Wants a $15 Minimum Wage in Connecticut

Much like the other states that have enacted a $15 minimum wage, not everyone in Connecticut is happy with the new law.

Some employers, businesses owners, and lawmakers are opposed to the minimum wage hike. They argue that increasing wages could negatively impact economic growth while also making it harder for companies to make a profit, leading to layoffs that could increase unemployment in the state.

These are the same concerns and potential impacts that were brought up in other states by those who opposed increasing minimum wage. However, research on the results of minimum wage increases are mixed.
 

Connecticut Employers Must Plan for the Gradual Minimum Wage Increase

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has said he will sign the bill to increase minimum wage in the state to $15, which means employers must start preparing. The first part of the phase-in takes place just a few months from now, when wages increase on October 1st to $11 an hour.

Small and midsize employers who aren’t sure how to can reach out to HR and compliance professionals to ensure the business stays compliant and avoids any penalties for violating the new law.

One area of HR is becoming increasingly more difficult for small employers to properly handle — maintaining compliance with employment laws. Download our eBook, Guide to Employment Law: Topics Employers Must Know to Stay Compliant, to learn more about some of the biggest trends and topics in employment law.

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