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Connecticut Minimum Wage Heading to $15

June 4, 2019

 

Connecticut lawmakers voted last month to increase that state’s minimum wage from $10.10 per hour to $15 as of June 1, 2023. The Nutmeg State joins Massachusetts as the only New England states to begin ratcheting their minimum wages to $15.

 

The Connecticut increase will be phased in:

 

Effective Date

Minimum Wage Rate

October 1, 2019

$11

September 1, 2020

$12

August 1, 2021

$13

July 1, 2022

$14

June 1, 2023

$15

 

Automatic increases but a brake pedal to

 

Unlike the Massachusetts law that took effect on January 1, Connecticut will adjust its minimum wage beginning in 2024 by the percentage change in the Employment Cost Index for all civilian workers’ salaries and wages, as calculated by the United States Department of Labor.

 

However, the law also requires the Connecticut Labor Commissioner to recommend to the governor “whether any scheduled minimum wage increases should be suspended after two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the state’s real gross domestic product.” The governor may then make his or her own recommendation to the legislature as to whether the minimum wage increases should be suspended.

 

Training Wage

 

The new law also significantly limits the exception for beginners and learners to employees under the age of 18. All employees 18 years of age or older will be paid the full minimum wage.

 

When the training wage is applicable the law provides that it must be the greater of $10.10 or 85 percent of the minimum wage. Below is a summary of the training wage based on the increases to the minimum wage mandated under this bill:

 

Date

Training Wage

October 1, 2019

$10.10

September 1, 2020

$10.20

August 1, 2021

$11.05

July 1, 2022

$11.90

June 1, 2023

$12.75

 

Employers should investigate carefully the rules about when an employer may or may not use the training wage given penalties for misuse. For example, beginning in 2020 it will be illegal for an employer to take actions “to displace an existing employee, … such as reducing the employee's hours, wages or employment benefits, for purposes of hiring persons under the age of eighteen years at a rate below the minimum fair wage.” The state’s Labor Commissioner determines whether a violation has occurred and must suspend the employer’s right to pay the reduced rate for employees for a period of time.

 

The minimum wage in other New England states

 

  • Rhode Island – $10.50 in 2019.
  • Vermont – $10.78 in 2019 (future annual adjustments based on cost of living changes)
  • Maine - $11 in 2019, increasing to $12 in 2020 (future adjustments based on cost of living) 
  • New Hampshire - $7.25 (the federal minimum)

 

Conclusion

 

Any AIM member considering an expansion into another New England state needs to check carefully to make sure they are aware of the local minimum wage because it will impact recruitment and hiring practices.   

 

AIM members with questions about this or any other HR-related issue may call the AIM Employer Hotline at 1-800-470-6277.

 

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