Connecticut Braces For New Minimum Wage Law: First Increase October 1st
While the national media has been covering the “Fight for $15” in Washington D.C. this summer, closer to home Governor Lamont recently signed into law Public Act 19-4 (House Bill 5004), titled “An Act Increasing The Minimum Fair Wage”. This law is Connecticut’s answer to national the “Fight for $15” movement that has been advocating for a $15 per hour minimum wage both nationally and in various states. A signature issue on the campaign trail during the 2018 state elections, both Governor Lamont and the majority leadership in the legislature advocated for passage of a $15 minimum wage, making Connecticut just the seventh state to adopt such a wage requirement. While CHCC was an active participant in a coalition of over 35 different associations and companies representing the business community opposing the minimum wage during the legislative session, the bill ultimately passed the legislature after a marathon 14-hour debate in the House of Representatives and despite the strong and continuing objections of the state’s business community. Connecticut’s new minimum wage law will gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by mid-2023. Future increases will occur automatically and without a vote of the legislature since the law also now “indexes” future increases.
While all employers in Connecticut need to be aware of this new law and the scheduled wage increases, contractors should pay special attention and make note of how the increased wages may impact apprentice wages and wage progression scales, apprentice and journeymen pay differentials, and ultimately increased future labor costs when pricing, bidding or specing out jobs.
Public Act 19-4 increases the state’s minimum hourly wage from its current $10.10 to:
(1) $11.00 starting on October 1, 2019;
(2) $12.00 starting on September 1, 2020;
(3) $13.00 starting on August 1, 2021;
(4) $14.00 starting on July 1, 2022;
(5) $15.00 starting on June 1, 2023.
Finally, starting on January 1, 2024, future annual minimum wage increases will be automatically determined by indexing Connecticut’s wage to increases or changes in the federal employment cost index (ECI).
Additionally, Connecticut’s new minimum wage legislation will require the state’s labor commissioner to make recommendations on whether any scheduled minimum wage increases should be suspended after two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the state’s real gross domestic product.
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