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It’s Official: Connecticut Minimum Wage Will Increase to $15.00 per Hour

On May 28, 2019, Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill No. 5004 The bill, entitled “An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage,” increases Connecticut’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour over the next approximately four years.

Under the new law, the current $10.10 minimum wage rate will increase pursuant to the following schedule:

  • $11.00 per hour on October 1, 2019;

  • $12.00 per hour on September 1, 2020;

  • $13.00 per hour on August 1, 2021;

  • $14.00 per hour on July 1, 2022; and

  • $15.00 per hour on October 15, 2023.

Following the October 15, 2023, increase, the minimum wage will be tied to the federal employment cost index and will be announced January 1 yearly by the labor commissioner.

Concerning employees under the age of 18 (except for emancipated minors), the law allows employers to pay 85 percent of the minimum wage for the first 90 days of employment to account for training time. However, effective October 1, 2020, the law prohibits employers from replacing current workers in favor of workers under the age of 18 who are not entitled to the full minimum wage.

Furthermore, certain employers in the restaurant and hotel business are still entitled to rely on a “tip credit,” allowing them to use tips received by some servers and bartenders to offset a portion of the minimum wage. The law freezes the minimum wage for these tipped workers—$6.38 for wait staff and $8.23 for bartenders—as long as the employees’ tips ensure these servers and bartenders make the minimum wage.

There is also a provision allowing the labor commissioner to recommend against scheduled increases to the minimum wage “[a]fter two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the state’s real gross domestic product” as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Under the law, those recommendations are submitted to the governor, who then submits recommendations to the Connecticut General Assembly as to whether the minimum wage increases should be suspended.

Employers may want to reevaluate their current pay practices to ensure compliance with the increases, which will begin on October 1, 2019.

© 2019, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

William C. Ruggiero, Ogletree Deakins, employee handbooks attorney, personnel policies lawyer
Associate

William C. Ruggiero is an associate in the Stamford office of Ogletree Deakins.  His practice is focused on defending employers against allegations of discrimination and retaliation in a variety of forums, including the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and state and federal courts.  He regularly counsels clients with respect to their employee handbooks and personnel policies to ensure compliance with state and federal law. He also represents employers during internal disciplinary and pre-arbitration...

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John G. Stretton, Ogletree Deakins, noncompete confidentiality lawyer, wrongful termination attorney
Shareholder

John Stretton is a Shareholder in the Stamford office of Ogletree Deakins with nearly twenty years of experience. Clients view John as a resourceful counselor and aggressive litigator who never loses sight of a client's business objectives and need to establish value. In addition to providing proactive counseling and advice, John is frequently sought out to represent clients in discrimination, noncompete, confidentiality, wrongful termination, wage and overtime, breach of contract, unfair trade practices, intellectual property and complex litigation matters in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. John also has extensive experience drafting and negotiating executive employment agreements and agreements concerning data use, privacy and security. John regularly counsels clients on the enforceability of restrictive covenants (non-solicitation, non-competition and confidentiality clauses), in addition to litigating restrictive covenant cases. John was named a New England

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