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State Senator

Dennis Bradley

Representing Bridgeport and Stratford

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

HARTFORD, CT – Today, state Senator Dennis Bradley (D-Bridgeport) 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.

“This is about looking out for working Connecticut families and making sure that we provide them the ability to advance financially,” said Sen. Bradley. “This is about equity and paying hard working people a fair wage. This legislation makes sure that capitalism in Connecticut continues to prosper and that Connecticut workers receive what is rightfully theirs.”

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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