Connecticut lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal that could effectively raise the minimum wage of many of the state’s low-wage workers to $15 an hour.
The bill, SB 1044, would subject for-profit companies with 500 or more employees to a fine for every employee who is paid less than $15 an hour, essentially forcing those companies to raise wages or pay if they refuse.
The bill would be the first of its kind in the country.
Connecticut has in the past few years enacted other first-of-its-kind laws to support low-wage workers in the state, among them a 2011 law mandating paid sick leave for the hundreds of thousands of service employees in the state.
Since then, California and Massachusetts have both approved guaranteed paid sick leave legislation.
Another law, passed in 2014, raises the state’s minimum wage from $8.70 to $10.10 by January 2017. A handful of states have since raised their minimum wages, including Vermont, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., which have planned increases that will bring their minimum wages to a level higher than Connecticut’s.