EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS

Connecticut Minimum Wage Goes to $12 on Sept. 1, 2020

By Kris Janisch
Published Aug. 13, 2020

Connecticut Minimum Wage 2020

In May 2019, Connecticut passed legislation to increase its minimum wage to $15 by 2023. At that time, lawmakers estimated the increased minimum wage would impact more than 330,000 employees in the state.

The minimum wage in Connecticut will reach $12 an hour on Sept. 1, 2020.

While most jurisdictions opt to increase minimum wage rates at the start of the year or on July 1, there are a handful that opt to increase rates at different times of the year.

Employers should also note that three jurisdictions pushed back planned minimum wage increases last month due to concerns over economic impacts related to COVID-19. They are:

  • Virginia
  • Hayward, Calif.
  • San Carlos, Calif.

Related: Minimum Wage Increases for California Cities – July 1, 2020

Employers are required to display a new labor law posting associated with the increased rate. The related posting in Connecticut hadn’t been updated in a few years.

Minimum Wage in Connecticut

In May 2019, Connecticut passed legislation to increase its minimum wage to $15 by 2023. At that time, lawmakers estimated the increased minimum wage would impact more than 330,000 employees in the state.

Connecticut will stay on a somewhat unusual schedule for rate increases over the next few years:

  • $12 – Sept. 1, 2020
  • $13 – Aug. 1, 2021
  • $14 – July 1, 2022
  • $15 – Oct. 15, 2023

Tip Credits for Servers

The state does have separate wages for so-called “service employees.”

Here’s how Connecticut describes these workers:

A “service employee” is defined as any employee whose duties relate solely to the serving of food and/or beverages to patrons seated at tables or booths, and to the performance of duties incidental to such service, and who customarily receives gratuities.  This means that a tip credit (toward the minimum wage) can be taken only for waiters and waitresses, and only during the time for which they are actually serving patrons at tables or booths, or performing closely related duties, and when they are receiving gratuities.

That means for employees to be eligible for tip credits, they must engage in certain duties, defined as:

  • Bringing orders to customers
  • Cleaning service areas
  • Refilling condiment containers
  • Replacing table settings in their own sections
  • Taking food orders
  • Vacuuming their own section

However, employers may split minimum wage versus tipped credit wages should employees work as both a server and cook, for example.

Find more specifics on other types of wage rates on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website.

Minimum Wage Nationwide

Connecticut has long been a leader in terms of minimum wage increases. In 2014, the state made plans to eventually have the highest increase in the nation.

That prompted former President Barrack Obama to promote an increased federal minimum wage. Of course, that didn’t come to pass, which prompted more jurisdictions to address rates on their own in recent years.

Related: Guide for City and County Minimum Wage Increases – July 1, 2020

The federal minimum wage still sits at $7.25 and hasn’t been increased in more than a decade — the longest such stretch in U.S. history.

Tracking the intricacies of minimum wage rates has become more challenging for employers over the past few years. In addition to regular rate changes, there are other hurdles to overcome, including wages by industry, tipped wages, wages for small and large employers, and more.

And jurisdictions changing rates outside of the new year and July 1 adds another layer to the complexity of employment law compliance.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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