By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced an agreement on legislation to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The agreement is the result of months of deliberative and thorough negotiations between the Governor’s Office, Senate, and General Assembly to institute a $15 per hour minimum wage, raising wages for over one million workers and promoting broad-based economic growth.
Under the legislation, the base minimum wage for New Jersey workers would increase to $10 per hour on July 1, 2019. By January 1, 2020, the statewide minimum wage would increase to $11 per hour, and then would increase by $1 per hour every January 1st until it reaches $15 per hour on January 1, 2024, impacting over one million New Jersey workers.
For seasonal workers and employees at small businesses of five workers or less, the base minimum wage would reach $15 per hour by January 1, 2026. By January 1, 2028, workers in these groups will receive the minimum wage inclusive of inflation adjustments that take place from 2024 to 2028, equalizing the minimum wage with the main cohort of New Jersey workers.
For agricultural workers, the base minimum wage would increase to $12.50 per hour by January 1, 2024. No later than March 31, 2024, the New Jersey Labor Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture will jointly decide whether to recommend that the minimum wage for agricultural workers increase to $15 per hour by January 1, 2027, as specified in the bill. If they cannot come to an agreement, a third member, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, will break the tie. If there is a recommendation to disapprove of the scheduled increases or suggest an alternative pathway, the Legislature will have the ability to implement that recommendation by passage of a concurrent resolution. (State of New Jersey, Office of the Governor, News Release, January 17, 2019.)
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