A hot political topic here in Connecticut and around the country is the minimum wage and whether it should be raised.
After 14 hours of contentious debate in the Connecticut House of Representatives and more contentious debate in the State Senate, both chambers have now voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2023.
Many Republicans spoke out during the debates – expressing concern the bill would place an unfair and harmful burden on Connecticut’s employers.
Governor Lamont campaigned last year on raising the minimum wage to $15. After the bill passed out of the House, Lamont had this to say:
“If our economy doesn’t work for everyone, then it doesn’t work. It’s that simple. I’m doing everything possible to engage the business community so they can grow here, relocate or stay and hire Connecticut residents who represent the top workforce in the country. In order to grow, we need policies that protect our workforce and the small businesses who need them.
Raising the minimum wage will help lift families out of poverty, combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders, and stimulate our economy. This compromise represents a fair, gradual increase that will improve the lives of working families in our state who struggle to pay for childcare, afford tuition, put food on the table, pay the mortgage, or cover the rent. I applaud the action taken by the House today and urge the Senate to swiftly approve as well so that I may proudly sign this into law.”
The bill seeks to increase the minimum wage to $11 on Oct. 1, $12 on Sept. 1, 2020, $13 on Aug. 1, 2021, $14 on July 1, 2022 and $15 on Oct. 15, 2023. After that date, increases would be tied to the federal Employment Cost Index – a less volatile index than the Consumer Price Index.
The bill does not call for an increase in tipped wages – the wage paid to wait staff and bartenders.
The bill also makes allowances for younger workers by calling for a special wage for 16- and 17-year-olds. If the bill passes and is signed by Lamont, these workers would earn 85 percent of the minimum wage for their first 90 days of employment.
The National Federal of Independent Businesses joined Republicans in the House and Senate in opposing the legislation.
Governor Lamont is expected to sign the measure into law.
If you’re an employer and have questions about labor and employment law, including wage laws, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys has over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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