In May 2019, Connecticut joined a host of other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, in passing a bill that, pursuant to a series of incremental increases over time, will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. The first increase occurred in October 2019 and the next increase, to $12 per hour, takes place on September 1, 2020. The law provides for $1.00 per hour increases every eleven months, until reaching $15 per hour in June 2023.
Once the $15 per hour rate is reached in 2023, each January 1 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 law also froze, at the then-current levels of $6.38 per hour for hotel and restaurant staff and $8.23 per hour for bartenders, the sub-minimum hourly cash wage that hospitality employers must pay employees who customarily receive tips. Any shortfall, between the standard hourly minimum wage rate and what these employees make in a combination of tips plus the sub-minimum hourly rates, must be borne by the employer. Finally, the new law eliminated a lower “training wage” that employers previously could pay for learners and beginners, while retaining a “youth wage,” of no less than 85% of the standard minimum wage, for the first 90 days of employment for unemancipated minors.
Jackson Lewis will continue to monitor this and other wage and hour developments. If you have any questions, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney(s) with whom you regularly work.