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State Senator

James Maroney

Representing Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge

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Sen. Maroney Supports Senate Passage of Bill to Raise Connecticut’s Minimum Wage

HARTFORD, CT – This week, state Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) applauded the passage of a bill designed to raise Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour in five yearly steps by June 1, 2023 – a change that will benefit a third of a million state residents, or nearly a third of Connecticut’s workforce.

The legislation passed by a 21-14 vote and now awaits a signature from Governor Ned Lamont to become law. The bill previously passed the state House of Representatives by an 85-59 vote.

After June 1, 2023, the bill would index Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage to changes in the federal Employment Cost Index. The first minimum wage increase will take effect on October 1 of this year.

“Our nation currently has the third lowest minimum wage of all the developed countries,” said Sen. Maroney. “As the cost of living rises, we must do something to ensure people can earn an honest living and take care of themselves and their families. Additionally, this minimum wage increase will not hinder the growth of our state’s economy. Research shows that the minimum wage should be between 50 and 60 percent of the median income for the area. Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2023 will keep up with our state’s median income increases and will not put our state’s businesses at risk.”

Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour is a popular public policy with Connecticut residents: an August 2018 Quinnipiac University poll of more than 1,000 Connecticut residents found that nearly two-thirds (63%) support increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, including 73% of women, 67% of people over age 67, 65% of people ages 18-24, 56% of unaffiliated voters, and 33% of Republicans.

SUMMARY:

House Bill 5004, “AN ACT INCREASING THE MINIMUM FAIR WAGE,” increases Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage from the current $10.10 per hour to:

  • $11.00 on October 1, 2019
  • $12.00 on September 1, 2020
  • $13.00 on August 1, 2021
  • $14.00 on July 1, 2022
  • $15.00 on June 1, 2023

Tip Credit:

Current state law provides a “tip credit” to employers of hotel and restaurant staff and to bartenders who customarily receive tips. The tip credit allows employers to count these employee tips as a percentage of their minimum wage requirement, thus reducing the employer’s share of the minimum wage -- as long as the tips make up the difference.

The new minimum wage bill freezes the employer’s share of these employees’ minimum wage requirement at their current values ($6.38 for hotel and restaurant staff, and $8.23 for bartenders), but the bill also requires the tip credit’s value to correspondingly increase to make up for the difference between the employer’s share and the bill’s minimum wage increases. Thus, it allows employers to count these employees’ tips towards the difference between the employer’s share and the increasing minimum wage, as long as the tips make up the difference.

Training / Youth Wage:

Today’s minimum wage bill also addresses the issue of so-called training or youth wages. Starting October 1, 2019, the bill changes the “training wage” that employers may pay to learners, beginners, and people under age 18. Current state law generally allows employers to pay these employees as low as 85% of the regular minimum wage for their first 200 hours of employment. Today’s bill eliminates the training wage exceptions for learners and beginners, and now limits the training wage only to people under age 18 (except for emancipated minors.) Thus, today’s bill requires learners and beginners who are at least age 18 to be paid the full minimum wage.

Today’s bill also requires the training wage to be the greater of $10.10 or 85% of the minimum wage, and it allows employers to pay the training wage to people under age 18 for the first 90 days, rather than 200 hours, of their employment.

ECI Indexing:

Starting on January 1, 2024, and on each January 1 every year after that, the bill requires the minimum wage to be adjusted by the percent change in the federal Employment Cost Index (ECI) for all civilian workers’ wages and salaries over the 12-month period ending on June 30 of the preceding year, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A history of the ECI can be found here: https://www.bls.gov/ncs/ncspubs.htm#tabs-2

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