HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's minimum wage is facing a change once again. Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday a new state minimum wage of $15.69 an hour is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
This is the first time in state history the minimum wage rate will grow based on national data about the economy.
“This is going to be life-changing," said state Sen. Mae Flexer, (D-Brooklyn), at a Monday afternoon press conference in Windham.
The hourly minimum wage increase, just six months after it was raised to $15, is a result of the state law Lamont signed in 2019 to incrementally increase the minimum wage. The law required five incremental increases in the minimum wage between 2019 and 2023.
Starting Jan. 1, 2024 this same law requires the minimum wage be adjusted each year based on the employment cost index.
“It’s a process of adjusting, if you will, wages to the actual changes in the cost of living,” economics and finance instructor at the University of Hartford Kenneth Goroshko explained about the employment cost index.
“A lot of people think that the minimum wage is something that teenagers make, but there are so many adults out there in our state that are trying to support their families,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
The state estimates this $0.69 bump will directly impact as many as 200,000 minimum-wage workers in Connecticut, but some economists are concerned about how this could directly impact businesses, too.
“There's no such thing as a free lunch," Goroshko said. "What may sound like good news on one end, always has implications downstream.”
He worries this rise could lead to job loss down the line, as businesses try to adapt and compensate for the increasing wages, but state officials aren’t concerned.
“I come out of the business world," Lamont said. "We've now surpassed peak employment in the state. More than we had pre-COVID. That's a big deal. And I tell a lot of the folks out there, you maybe want to pay a little bit more. That's how you get people back to work again.”
Connecticut Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo reports the employment cost index increased by 4.6% over the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2023, accounting for the $0.69 increase to the state’s minimum wage.
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