Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



May 17, 2019

Senator Needleman Joins Democrats In Raising Connecticut’s Minimum Wage

HARTFORD, CT – Early this morning, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined the Senate Democrats to approve a bill designed to raise Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour in five yearly steps by June 1, 2023 – a change that will benefit a third of a million state residents, or nearly a third of Connecticut’s workforce.

“As a business owner, I’ve thought long and hard about this issue, and I decided it was important enough to bring up the lowest-level pay for employees because I believe getting people to a higher wage is critical for the health and welfare for the State of Connecticut. It’s the fair thing to do,” said state Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), who is the owner of Tower Laboratories, which is headquartered in Essex and which employs 150 people in Connecticut. “There may be unintended consequences, but I believe the good outweighs the bad. I wish the minimum wage had been indexed since I entered the workforce so we wouldn’t be dealing with an abrupt change right now. I suspect the minimum wage would be significantly higher had we done that, and we wouldn’t be fighting this battle right now. I’m glad this bill addresses that going forward.”

House Bill 5004, “AN ACT INCREASING THE MINIMUM FAIR WAGE,” increases Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage from the current $10.10 per hour to:

  • $11.00 on October 1, 2019
  • $12.00 on September 1, 2020
  • $13.00 on August 1, 2021
  • $14.00 on July 1, 2022
  • and $15.00 on June 1, 2023

After June 1, 2023, the bill would index Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage to changes in the federal Employment Cost Index.

The bill freezes employers’ shares of “tip credits,” which allow employers to count employee tips as a percentage of their minimum wage requirement, though it also requires tip credit value to increase and cover the difference between employers’ shares and minimum wage increases. Additionally, it changes the “training wage” for youth, eliminating a standard allowing employers to pay as low as 85 percent of the minimum wage for learners and beginners. The training wage now only applies to people under the age of 18, and is limited to the first 90 days of minors’ employment, rather than 200 hours.

Once the bill is passed and signed into law by Governor Lamont, the first minimum wage increase will take effect on October 1 of this year.