FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — For Connecticut’s minimum wage employees, 2014 will bring bigger paychecks as the state’s minimum wage is set to increase from $8.25 to $8.70 effective Wednesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced.
This is the first of two scheduled increases in the state’s minimum wage: the second, scheduled for Jan. 1, 2015, will bump minimum wage up to $9.
“This gradual increase over two years is a balanced approach to helping hard working men and women without adversely impacting the business community,” Malloy said in a statement. “Studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage is one of the best ways to get children out of poverty. This modest increase is money that will be put back into our economy and help residents to make ends meet.”
The state’s workforce consists of 1.7 million people, according to the governor’s office. Of those, it is estimated that 70,000 to 90,000 workers currently earn minimum wage. Under the current wage rate, employees working 40 hours a week earns approximately $17,160 a year, the governor’s office said.
Under the new minimum wage rate, employees working 40 hours a week will earn approximately $18,096.
“These increases represent small but significant steps forward for tens of thousands of Connecticut workers trying to provide for themselves and their families,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said.
Connecticut Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said the increase in minimum wage will give thousands of low-income working families across the state a long overdue raise.
“Raising the minimum wage is good for our economy, helps people, and is the right thing to do,” Sharkey added.
State House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington) said raising the minimum wage doesn't just benefit workers, but businesses as well.
"A higher minimum wage would inject dollars in our economy as folks spend increased earnings at local businesses," Aresimowicz said.