House Passes Minimum Wage Hike Bill

May 8, 2019

We’ve been fighting for years to get the legislature to increase Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage and now we’re only one vote away from giving our workers a long-overdue pay raise.

Today, after a 15-hour debate that began last night, the House of Representatives voted to approve legislation I introduced in the Labor Committee that raises the current $10.10 minimum wage over four and a half years to $15 an hour by June 1, 2023. The legislation, House Bill 5004, now goes to the Senate for a final vote and then to Governor Lamont for his signature.

A majority of senators and the governor agree with my colleagues and I in the House that workers in our state deserve this raise.

It was five years ago in March that Connecticut passed a $10.10 hourly minimum wage to take effect by 2017. At the time, the current minimum wage was good compared to other states, but since then the pay for our private-sector workers has significantly lagged behind our neighboring states: Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont all have higher minimum wages than Connecticut.

Under the legislation, the minimum will increase to $11 this year, $12 in 2020, $13 in 2021, $14 in 2022 and $15 in 2023. In 2024 and years thereafter the minimum wage will be indexed to the rate of inflation, so we won’t have to continue fighting for wage increases every year.

Raising the minimum wage is going to benefit hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut, especially people of color and working mothers. Through 2023, the pay increases going into the pocket of a full-time worker total more than $10,000.

That extra disposable income for each low-wage worker will go right back into the local and state economies, benefiting our communities and local businesses and producing more revenue for the state. A higher wage also will bring more dignity into the workplace. In the end, all of Connecticut will benefit.

To get this important legislation passed, however, my colleagues and I had to make some tough compromises – for now, that is.

The bill carves out a slightly lower wage for 16- and 17-year-old youths for the first 90 days of employment. After 90 days their wages would jump to minimum wage. In addition, the wages for workers who receive tips in bars and restaurants will not change, but the bill does require that we study the wages of tip earners to address concerns related to wage equity.

I’m thrilled about what we’ve been able to achieve but our work is not over. Next year we will continue to fight for wage increases for tip earners. More than 50 percent of these workers are women, who are Latinas, African Americans, moms and heads of households.

This disproportionate impact on gender and also people of color is killing the economy and causing undue hardship on working families. And you can rest assured that I'll continue to fight until we make it right.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns at Robyn.Porter@cga.ct.gov or 860-240-1371.

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