Topic:
LABOR (GENERAL); STATISTICAL INFORMATION; MINIMUM WAGES; STATE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS;
Location:
MINIMUM WAGE;

OLR Research Report


June 26, 2006

 

2006-R-0410

HISTORY OF CT MINIMUM WAGE

By: John Moran, Principal Analyst

You asked for a history of the state's minimum wage.

From 1933 to 1951, the state's minimum hourly wage was set by the labor commissioner who, after holding a public hearing, had to approve or reject a recommendation from the Minimum Wage Board. In 1951, the legislature enacted the first minimum wage law that set the wage in statute, rather than through commissioner approval.

In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which created the first national minimum hourly wage. This act set a national floor or minimum for the hourly wage, but it also allowed states to enact their own laws requiring a higher minimum wage. Connecticut has consistently enacted minimums that are higher than the national minimum.

Table 1 below shows the state's minimum wage from 1951 through 2007, when, it is set to increase to $7.65 an hour. Today the federal minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.

Table 1: History of Connecticut Minimum Hourly Wage

as Set by Statute

Year

Wage

 

Year

Wage

July 1, 1951

0.75

 

January 1, 1979

2.91**

October 1, 1957

1.00

 

January 1, 1980

3.12**

October 1, 1961

1.15

 

January 1, 1981

3.37

October 1, 1963

1.25

 

October 1, 1987

3.75

July 1, 1967

1.40

 

October 1, 1988

4.25

July 1, 1968

1.60

 

April 1, 1991

4.27

April 19, 1971

1.61**

 

October 1, 1996

4.77

October 1, 1971

1.85

 

September 1, 1997

5.18

May 1, 1974*

1.91**

 

January 1, 1999

5.65

May 1, 1974*

2.01**

 

January 1, 2000

6.15

January 1, 1975*

2.01**

 

January 1, 2001

6.40

January 1, 1975*

2.11**

 

January 1, 2002

6.70

January 1, 1976*

2.21**

 

January 1, 2003

6.90

January 1, 1976*

2.31**

 

January 1, 2004

7.10

January 1, 1977

2.31**

 

January 1, 2006

7.40

January 1, 1978

2.66

 

January 1, 2007

7.65

Source: CT Department of Labor

*During several years in the mid 1970s, the state had a two-track system where the lower wage applied to groups who were newly covered under the law; this system was phased out by 1977.

**In 1938, the U.S. Congress enacted FLSA, creating the first federal minimum wage. In the years indicated, the Connecticut minimum wage was required by state law to be at least the federal minimum plus one-half of one percent (rounded to the nearest whole cent).

JM:ts