minimum wage increase

Minimum Wage in Conn. Set to Increase on Friday

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The minimum wage in Connecticut is set to increase later this week.

On Friday, July 1, the state's minimum wage will increase from $13 per hour to $14.

The increase is part of legislation that Governor Ned Lamont signed into law three years ago. It schedules multiple minimum wage increases over a five-year- period.

“For too long, while the nation’s economy grew, the income of the lowest-earning workers has stayed flat, making already existing pay disparities even worse and preventing hardworking families from obtaining financial security. This is a fair, gradual increase for workers who will invest the money right back into our economy and continue supporting local businesses in their communities," Lamont said in a statement.

The next increase will be on June 1, 2023, when minimum wage will go from $14 an hour to $15 an hour.

Similar to when the legislation was passed, there are lots of different thoughts about the increase.

“The increased minimum wage will be helping me save money for college,” said Abigail Pierie-Louis, who works for Full Circle Youth Empowerment’s youth program in Bridgeport.

The affiliation of unions representing more than 200 thousand Connecticut workers is celebrating but hopes for higher pay moving forward.

“Right now $14 an hour, I was doing calculations in my head, it can buy you a gallon of gas, a gallon of milk, and a six-pack of English muffins at the grocery store, so it’s not keeping up,” said Ed Hawthorne, president of CT AFL-CIO.

George Frantzis, the co-owner of Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, had spoken out against this legislation before its passing years ago.

“We’re basically a lot of kids' first-time jobs. Listen, I’m all about finding a job where you can sustain a family. We all have to live, right? But there are also those positions where it’s a first-time job.”

Frantzis says as the minimum wage increase approaches, it’s another dagger as business costs soar and it makes other employees question their pay too.

“They’re going to need every nickel of it to just be where they were let’s say two years financially, so it’s a Catch 22. Somebody’s got to right this ship because it’s out of control. The cost of doing business is becoming almost unbearable.”

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association wasn’t on board of the hike at the time the bill passed, but today its president says it’s a different world.

“We’ve all accepted it really and in fact our members, and most businesses in Connecticut, are paying well above minimum wage,” said Chris DiPentima, president and CEO of CBIA.

With the demand for workers, CBIA says their business members tend to be paying more than minimum wage to have a competitive advantage.

After the minimum wage increase to $15 next year, it will be altered depending on the federal employment cost index, which is essentially how the rate will grow according to inflation and other economic indicators.

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