Connecticut to Join the Increasing Number of States Enacting a $15 Minimum Wage Law
With Governor Ed Lamont pledging to sign it into law, Connecticut will become the latest state to pass a $15.00 per hour minimum wage bill joining, among other states, its Northeast neighbors New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, in doing so.
Under the Connecticut law, the state’s current minimum wage of $10.10 per hour will rise to $11.00 per hour on October 1, 2019; to $12.00 per hour on September 1, 2020; to $13.00 per hour on August 1, 2021; to $14.00 per hour on July 1, 2022; and finally to $15.00 per hour on June 1, 2023. On January 1 of each year thereafter, the minimum wage will be adjusted by the percent change in the federal Employment Cost Index (ECI) for all civilian workers’ salaries and wages for the one-year period ending on June 30 of the previous year.
The new law also freezes at their current levels the tip credit that hospitality employers may take for employees who customarily receive tips. Thus, employers will have to make up the difference between the new minimum wage levels and the $6.38 tip credit for hotel and restaurant staff and the $8.23 tip credit for bartenders. Finally, the previous law allowed employers to pay a lower “training wage” for learners and beginners, as well as a “youth wage” for employees under the age of 18, at a rate of no less than 85% of the standard minimum wage for the first 200 work hours. The new law eliminates the training wage, while retaining the youth wage for employees under age 18, unless such minors are emancipated.
At the federal level, meanwhile, a bill introduced by Democratic leaders at the beginning of 2019, to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, has gained little traction, while Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recently testified before a Senate budget committee that he does not believe an increase in the federal minimum ($7.25 since 2009) is appropriate at this time.