As the dog days of summer now seem firmly entranced over Connecticut, this week’s installment of "The Basics" focuses on minimum wages. There are lots of exceptions and rules, but the basics are fairly straightforward:
- Although the federal minimum wage went on on July 24, 2009 to $7.25/hour, Connecticut has its own minimum wage law. Connecticut’s rate is set at $8.00 per hour, but will go up to $8.25 per hour effective January 1, 2010.
- The federal minimum wage acts as a floor, meaning that no state can have a minimum wage less than the federal standard. But states are free to impose higher requirements and Connecticut is one of those states that does that.
- Only three states (plus the District of Columbia) have higher minimum wage standards than Connecticut — Vermont ($8.06), Oregon ($8.40) and Washington ($8.55).
- Under certain conditions, restaurants may take a credit toward the minimum wage for some service employees who receive tips. This is known as a "tip credit". The theory behind this is that if the waiter/waitress makes say, $7.00 per hour, but can make the equivalent of $1 per hour on tips, then the "minimum wage" is satisfied. The particulars of the rule (and the restrictions) are available at the Connecticut DOL’s website here.
- There are some limited exceptions to paying minimum wage in Connecticut. For example, minors who work in government and in agriculture can be paid less than the minimum wage, subject to certain restrictions in Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-58a.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, circa 1943.