New Jersey has today (1 July 2019) increased its minimum wage to $10 (£7.91) an hour, aligning with legislation that aims to deliver a minimum wage of $15 (£11.87) an hour by 1 January 2024.
Today’s pay increase, which was signed into legislation by Governor Phil Murphy in February 2019, raises the state’s minimum wage from $8.85 an hour to $10 an hour for more than one million employees working in New Jersey.
The bill, which is sponsored by senate president Steven Sweeney and assembly speaker Craig Coughlin, further allows for the base minimum wage in New Jersey to increase to $11 (£8.70) an hour on 1 January 2020. After this, base pay will rise by $1 (£0.79) an hour every 1 January until it reaches $15 an hour on 1 January 2024.
Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey, said: “For far too long, too many of our fellow New Jerseyans have been struggling to survive on wages that have not kept up with the cost of living. I am incredibly proud to sign legislation that raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, ensuring that the most vulnerable among us will have the means to put food on the table, while growing our economy and addressing priorities of the small business community.”
Seasonal employees and those working at organisations with five or less staff will see their base minimum wage rise to $15 an hour by 1 January 2026 under the legislation, known as A-15. By 1 January 2028, these employees will also receive the minimum wage inclusive of inflation adjustments that take place from 2024 to 2028; this will equalise pay with the main body of New Jersey-based employees.
On 1 January 2024, agricultural staff will see their base minimum wage increase to $12.50 an hour. By 31 March 2024, the New Jersey Labor Commission and secretary of agriculture will jointly decide whether to recommend that the minimum wage for agricultural employees be raised to $15 an hour by 1 January 2027. If an agreement is not reached between these parties, a third member will create the decision.
Steve Sweeney, senate president, added: “Our goal of reaching a $15 minimum wage will now become a reality. A minimum wage should be a living wage. This is a progressive plan that will provide greater economic fairness for minimum wage [staff], helping to improve their standard of living and their quality of life. We can now achieve greater economic fairness by closing the wealth gap that has separated segments of society.”