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Governor Phil Murphy

NJ Leaders Agree on a Deal for a $15 Minimum Wage

NJ will become the fourth state to pass a $15 minimum wage

Brian Young's picture
Jan 18, 2019

The Fight for $15 is celebrating another victory as New Jersey is set to become the fourth state to increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The increase comes after a deal was reached between Governor Phil Murphy and legislative leaders. Like the federal minimum wage increase that UCOMM reported on earlier in the week, the state would mandate a $15 minimum by 2024. Currently, the Garden State’s minimum wage is $8.85 so this increase would be a significant raise for many low wage workers.

“No one working a full-time job should ever live in poverty,” said Murphy. “Putting the minimum wage on a clear and responsible path to $15/hour is good for workers, good for our businesses, and good for our economy.”

The increase does come with some caveats. For seasonal workers and employees at small businesses who employ five workers or less, the base minimum wage would reach $15 an hour by 2026. For farmworkers, the base minimum wage would increase to $12.50 an hour by Jan. 1, 2024. Then, a special committee would review whether to raise those workers’ minimum wage to $15 an hour.

"This plan will put New Jersey in the forefront of the national movement to build a high-wage economy,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “It will increase the wages for farm workers to $12.50 within five years, making it the highest wage for a farm worker in the Northeast. The plan includes tax credits for employers who hire people with disabilities, which will support the further integration into the workplace of those with disabilities, giving them the opportunity for meaningful employment and providing employers with highly motivated workers. It also includes a 'parity' provision that will provide additional increases for small business and seasonal workers.”

Once the deal is officially signed into legislation, New Jersey workers can expect their first raise on July 1st, when the minimum wage will increase to $10 an hour. After that, they can expect a $1 increase every January 1st until the minimum wage hits $15 in 2024.

New Jersey will now join California, New York, and Massachusetts in their quest to raise the minimum wage to $15. Some cities like New York and Washington D.C. already have reached the $15 benchmark.

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