New Jersey to Raise Its Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

New Jersey will be gradually raising its minimum wage for most workers to $15.00 per hour by 2024. On February 4, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that amends the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law to provide incremental minimum wage increases beginning on July 1, 2019.

The minimum wage will increase to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2019, to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2020, and by $1.00 per hour every year thereafter until it reaches $15.00 on January 1, 2024. The minimum wage increases provided by the New Jersey Constitution will continue to be applied in all cases in any year in which the increase set by the bill is less than the consumer price index for all urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W).

For employers with fewer than six employees and for seasonal employees, the minimum wage rates will gradually increase to reach $15.00 by 2026. Tipped employees will continue to receive at least their minimum wage through a combination of base salary and tips with incremental increases in their base salaries to reach $5.13 per hour by 2024. Agricultural workers will see a gradual minimum wage increase to $12.50 by 2024, with further increases pending evaluation by the state.

The new law allows employers to pay employees enrolled in a qualified training program a training wage of 90% of the minimum wage for the first 120 hours of work commencing January 1, 2020. Employers are prohibited from using trainees in any way that would contribute to the displacement of current employees or existing apprenticeship programs. Employers are required to make good faith efforts to continue to employ trainees after their training wage periods end.

The bill also provides for tax credits for businesses that employ individuals with impairments.

Employers should begin to plan for the New Jersey minimum wage increases and any resulting budget and staffing changes.

If you have questions about the anticipated increases to New Jersey’s minimum wage or how they may affect your business, please contact Harry Horwitz at hah@stevenslee.com or the Stevens & Lee attorney with whom you regularly work.

This News Alert has been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter. For more information, please see the disclaimer

Close