CT minimum wage law has minimal effect in Wilton
Wilton camp counselors and other workers who earn minimum wage don’t have to fear losing their jobs due to a new state law which took effect on Oct. 1.
The law required the minimum wage to increase from its current level of $10.10 an hour to $11 an hour on Oct. 1. It will further increase $1 an hour each year thereafter until it reaches $15 an hour in 2023. After that, the minimum wage will become indexed to federal economic indicators.
The new law means 200 staffers, camp counselors and workers in after-school programs at the Wilton Family YMCA will see an increase in their paychecks, according to Christene Friedman, the Y’s chief development officer.
“The Y is one of the larger employers of youth in Fairfield County,” Friedman said.
The Y planned for the minimum wage increase by planning it into its budget, Friedman said. As a result, no cuts will be made to the staff, and there will be no layoffs because of the increase.
Over at Woodcock Nature Center on Deer Run Road, which offers a summer camp and environmental programs, the minimum wage increase was a non-issue. “All the counselors here are paid above minimum wage,” said executive director Lenore Eggleston Herbst.
For the town of Wilton, there will be some workers affected by the minimum wage increase, but the impact will be minimal according to Sarah Taffel, the town’s human resources director.
She said some hourly parks and grounds workers and poll workers will see a rise in their pay due to the minimum wage increase. Other part-time workers are not at minimum wage level, she said, and won’t be affected.
There also is an exception, she said, for seasonal workers under 18 years of age, who work in jobs at summer camp and Merwin Meadows.
“The rate for all persons under the age of 18 (excluding emancipated minors) is not less than 85 percent of the minimum wage for 90 days of employment,” Taffel said.
However, most of the time, she said, those rates will be at the minimum wage.
There will be no change in the town’s seasonal or part-time hires because of the minimum wage increase, Taffel said. “It does not impact many people,” she added.
One supermarket in the state, ShopRite grocery store in West Hartford, announced it would be closing in November saying Connecticut’s “challenging business climate,” including the state’s new higher minimum wage, made the store unprofitable.
ShopRite issued a statement saying, “In spite of our competitive pricing, large assortment of foods and products, and excellent service provided by our dedicated associates, we have struggled to make the store profitable. A challenging business climate impacted by rising costs, regulations and the new minimum wage increase led to the difficult decision to close our doors on Nov. 26.”
No other Connecticut supermarkets have announced a closure following the minimum wage hike. And the West Hartford store is the only ShopRite location closing, a company spokeswoman said.
A call to Stop & Shop which has a supermarket in Wilton, to discuss the impact of the minimum wage increase, was not returned.