Murphy makes it official: Signs $15 minimum wage into law
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation that raises the minimum wage in New Jersey to $15 an hour by 2024.
During a signing ceremony in Elizabeth, Murphy was repeatedly cheered by hundreds of union members and social justice groups including the New Jersey Working Families Alliance and Make the Road New Jersey, as he delivered on a campaign promise to increase the minimum wage.
Murphy said families in the Garden State will now “have their hard work rewarded by a fair and growing wage, and the opportunity to join the middle class.”
He noted New Jersey’s current minimum wage is $8.85 per hour but “on July 1 for hundreds of thousands of full-time working New Jerseyans, it will rise to $10 an hour.”
“And on Jan. 1 it will go to $11 an hour. That means over the last six months of this year alone, these families will see $1,200 more right in their pockets," Murphy said.
The minimum wage will then go up $1 an hour on the first day of each year until it reaches $15 an hour by the start of 2024.
Murphy said when that happens, “minimum wage workers will be making cumulatively nearly $13,000 per year more than they do now.”
“This is a huge step forward to for more than 1.2 million workers to be able to more capably provide for themselves and for their families.”
Murphy said the new minimum wage law will also help young New Jerseyans just starting out.
“Those who work to pay their way through college, or to hope to save enough to get a college degree, this will help them immeasurably and put a degree and a better life closer within their reach," Murphy said.
Lt. Gov Sheila Oliver said the new minimum wage law puts New Jersey “on a trajectory to help people pay their bills.”
She said New Jersey parents being paid the minimum wage have been making tough financial decisions “for far too long, and hopefully with the elevation of the minimum wage families can begin to offer their children a better quality of life.”
The new law stipulates for seasonal workers and employees at smaller businesses with five or fewer workers, the base minimum wage will reach $15 an hour at the start of 2026.
By Jan. 1, 2028, workers in these groups will receive a minimum wage (inclusive of inflation adjustments that take place from 2024 to 2028) equalized with other New Jersey workers.
The minimum wage for agricultural workers will increase to $12.50 per hour by Jan. 1, 2024.
By March 31, 2024, the New Jersey Labor Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture will decide together whether to recommend the minimum wage for agricultural workers should increase to $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2027.
Critics of the $15 minimum wage, including the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, have long argued it will especially hurt smaller businesses and make it even more difficult for many companies to survive in the Garden State.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, and State Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, were among a large contingent of lawmakers present for the bill signing.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.
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