ELIZABETH, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation on Monday that will raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. The bill (A-15), sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, will grow the economy and raise wages for over one million New Jersey workers, giving them a foothold in the middle class.
“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,” said Governor Murphy. “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. I thank Senate President Sweeney, Speaker Coughlin, and thousands of advocates and community leaders throughout our state for their unwavering commitment to making this goal a reality.”
“In New Jersey there is no way a family can survive on $8.85 an hour. Fair wages are about paying people enough to afford the rising costs of health care, education and the basic necessities in life,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “New Jersey has made a historic decision today that will help raise over a million working families out of poverty while boosting the economy. I proudly stand by Governor Murphy as he signs a $15 minimum wage into law.”
“Our goal of reaching a $15 minimum wage will now become a reality. A minimum wage should be a living wage,” said Senate President Sweeney. “This is a progressive plan that will provide greater economic fairness for minimum wage workers, 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.”
“I am proud to join Governor Murphy and Senate President Sweeney during this remarkable day to celebrate our minimum wage bill becoming law,” said Speaker Coughlin. “Too many workers aren’t earning enough to make ends meet. But, that all changes today. Today marks a new day for New Jersey residents and future generations, as we gradually raise the minimum wage and help alleviate poverty across our great state.”
The current minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.85 per hour. Under the new law, the base minimum wage for New Jersey workers will increase to $10 per hour on July 1, 2019. By January 1, 2020, the statewide minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour, and then will increase by $1 per hour every January 1st until it reaches $15 per hour on January 1, 2024.
For seasonal workers and employees at small businesses with five or fewer workers, the base minimum wage will 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 will 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.
Elected officials, advocates, and business leaders proclaimed support for New Jersey’s new minimum wage law.