On May 21, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill that will steadily raise Connecticut's minimum wage to $15 by October 15, 2023. Connecticut joins California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey in passing a $15 per hour statewide minimum wage increase.

Under the law, the statewide minimum wage rate first increases from $10.10 per hour (which was the minimum wage established in January 2017) to $11 per hour effective October 1, 2019. The hourly minimum wage rate for employees in Connecticut will increase over a period of four years as follows:

Effective Date

Minimum Wage Increases to

October 1, 2019


September 1, 2020


August 1, 2021


July 1, 2022


October 15, 2023


For context, a Connecticut employee currently working 40 hours a week earning the state minimum wage of $10.10 per hour earns about $21,000 per year. By the end of 2023, the same employee working 40 hours per week earning the adjusted state minimum wage of $15 per hour will earn about $31,000 per year.

The law does not increase the tipped wage, which is the minimum that must be paid to waitstaff and bartenders, provided certain requirements are met. The minimum wage will remain $6.38 per hour for waitstaff and $8.23 an hour for bartenders, as long as those employees earn the standard minimum wage when gratuities are included. If the tipped wage plus gratuities does not equal or exceed minimum wage, employers must make up the difference.

The law also includes a limited exception for minors, requiring that 16- and 17-year-old workers be paid only 85 percent of the minimum wage for their first 90 days of employment. After 90 days, employers must pay them the full minimum wage. 

What This Means for Employers

Employers who will be impacted by the initial or subsequent minimum wage increases should start planning now for the increases given the potentially significant impacts on labor costs and staffing. Furthermore, Connecticut employers should be on the lookout for more employee-friendly changes to Connecticut law in the coming months, including paid family leave, which was part of Governor Lamont's campaign platform in the 2018 election.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.