HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's minimum wage increased from $11 to $12 an hour on Tuesday, under a new state law designed to gradually raise the rate over several years.

The boost in pay is a latest in a series of five increases included in a 2019 state law signed by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. The rate is scheduled to climb again to $13 an hour on Aug. 1, 2021, $14 on July 1, 2022 and $15 on June 1, 2023.

By Jan. 1, 2024, the law will require Connecticut's minimum wage to become indexed to the employment cost index, which is calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In March, the politically conservative Yankee Institute for Public Policy suggested the governor consider a one-year moratorium on the Sept. 1 increase to help businesses recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic. But Lamont said Monday he believed the increase is important for helping workers at this time, especially essential workers who earn the minimum wage.

“A lot of them were bagging your groceries or providing food. Some of them were working in daycare,” he said. “I'm proud of the fact that Connecticut recognizes that and they're going to give them a dollar-an-hour-raise.”