Minimum Wage in Connecticut in 2023
With labor shortages and a rising cost of living, raising the minimum wage has been a common talking point. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but there is some variation. Some states mandate less — those are subject to the federal minimum wage — but 30 states and Washington D.C. have laws mandating workers receive a wage higher than the federal minimum.
Connecticut is much closer to the top end of the minimum wage, requiring employers to pay workers $14.00 per hour.
What Is the Current Minimum Wage in Connecticut?
The current minimum wage in Connecticut is $14.00 per hour, a rate that went into effect on July 1, 2022. Following a law that Governor Ned Lamont signed in 2019, the Connecticut minimum wage has been increased progressively each year, leading to a final increase to $15.00 an hour on June 1, 2023.
The following year, the minimum wage in Connecticut will become indexed to the employment cost index from the U.S. Department of Labor.
What Was the Minimum Wage in Connecticut in 2022?
At the beginning of 2022, the minimum wage in Connecticut was $13.00 an hour. On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage increased to $14.00 per hour.
What Is the Minimum Wage in Connecticut in 2024?
The minimum wage in Connecticut will start at $15.00 per hour in 2024 and grow with economic indicators, rather than waiting for a new law to pass to raise it.
Different Types of Minimum Wage and Exemptions in Connecticut
There are some exceptions to the minimum wage law in Connecticut. These exceptions are intended to help employers pay people to work in temporary or high volume jobs — the reasoning being that they would otherwise be unable to afford to pay enough employees.
Federally, the minimum combined wage for tipped workers matches the regular federal wage. Combined wage is tips plus base pay. If a tipped worker doesn’t receive many tips, the employer has to make their hourly wage equal to at least $7.25 per hour.
In Connecticut, the minimum combined wage for tipped workers is much higher at $13.00 per hour. To be considered a tipped worker in CT, an employee must earn at least $10.00 per week in tips for full-time employees or $2.00 per day for part-time employees at hotels and restaurants. Other industries aren’t specified.
Employees in hotels and restaurants in Connecticut have a minimum cash wage of $6.38 per hour and bartenders have a minimum cash wage of $8.23 per hour. Minimum cash wage is the base pay, before tips, that an employee usually receives a check for.
Farm and Seasonal Workers
While some farm and seasonal workers are exempted from the federal minimum wage, in Connecticut, they are not exempt and must be paid at least the regular minimum wage.
Employers of minors must follow different rules. For the first 90 days of employment, the minimum wage for a minor employee is 85% of the current minimum wage, which comes to $11.90 per hour. After 90 days, they are entitled to the regular minimum wage, unless they are working in the agriculture industry.
Minors working on farms or in agriculture positions are allowed to be paid 85% of the current minimum wage indefinitely.
This rule does not apply to emancipated minors, who must be paid the full minimum wage or more.
Full-time students in high school or college who work in certain programs like work study can be paid 85% of the current minimum wage, as well. This only applies if they work 20 hours per week or less. If they work over 20 hours, then they are entitled to at least regular minimum wage.
Living on Minimum Wage in Connecticut
While the minimum wage in Connecticut increased almost 8% in the last year, many other regular costs of living outpaced it. The price of gas rose 50% in Connecticut between May 2021 and May 2022. The cost of food rose 10.1%. While the minimum wage is going up, it’s not going up as quickly as the cost of living, which means people making minimum wage cannot buy as much as they could in 2021.
In perspective, if gas is $4.24 per gallon, like it was in New Haven, Connecticut on July 6, 2022, then it would cost almost $64 to fill up a 15-gallon tank. That’s over four hours of work on minimum wage just to fill up a tank of gas.
Another example is private preschool for families with young children. The average price for private preschool in Connecticut is $1,152 per month. That means that someone who makes minimum wage would be paying well over half their monthly income to send their child to a private preschool.
The Controversy of Raising Minimum Wage
After Jan. 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Connecticut will be indexed with the cost of living index and rise automatically based on economic factors. The last time the minimum wage was raised in 2013, thousands of workers who made more than the minimum wage also saw an increase in pay. The goal of raising the minimum wage in Connecticut is to support families and children with lower income.
Some business owners are against raising the minimum wage, because they are already seeing other costs of doing business rise due to inflation. They argue that some positions are “first-time” jobs and it may not be necessary to pay a living wage for these positions.
Despite this, the Alliance for a Just Society and the Economic Policy Institute released data that shows raising the minimum wage increases quality of life and decreases inequality.
What State has a $15 Minimum Wage?
While Connecticut is increasing its minimum wage to $15.00 in mid-2023, a few states are already there. As of Jan. 1, 2023, California, Massachusetts and Washington and are on the list. Some cities in these and other states also have minimum wages of at least $15.00 an hour.
What State Has the Lowest Minimum Wage?
Wyoming and Georgia tie for the lowest minimum wage at $5.15 per hour. However, because all states are subject to the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the minimum wage in both Wyoming and Georgia is effectively $7.25 an hour.
What State Has the Highest Minimum Wage?
Washington state has the highest minimum wage at $15.74 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2023. However, Washington, D.C. mandates workers receive $16.50 per hour beginning the same day.
Connecticut boasts one of the highest minimum wages in the U.S., but it also maintains some of the highest cost of living, as well. Lawmakers are trying to support the lowest paid workers by raising the minimum wage, but as inflation continues to plague the economy, it hasn’t made a big difference quite yet.
Amber Barkley contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of Dec. 30, 2022.
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