New Jersey Considering $15.00 Minimum Wage
The minimum wage that employers may pay employees varies significantly from state to state. Some states still follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, while states like Washington require a higher minimum wage of $12.00 per hour as of 2019. Several states have implemented legislation that gradually increases the minimum wage over several years, and New Jersey legislators are considering a proposed bill that would do the same.
NJ A15 was introduced in December 2018 and aims to raise the state minimum wage of $8.85 per hour incrementally until it eventually reaches $15.00 per hour. On January 24th, the Assembly Labor Committee approved a revised version of the bill, and other legislative committees must also vote to approve the bill. The full Assembly and Senate must both pass the bill and Governor Phil Murphy would have to sign it before the increases are formally implemented.
Details of the Bill
The bill sets out a specific schedule for minimum wage increases, as follows:
- Increase to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2019
- Increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2020
- An additional increase of $1.00 per hour each January 1 until it reaches $15.00 in 2024
If the bill passes, employers should all be ready to start paying the new $10.00 minimum wage as of July. Employees should pay close attention to their wages to ensure their employers are not violating their rights under the new law.
There are some exceptions to the law, such as the fact that tipped employees will have a lower hourly wage and will need to reach $15.00 per hour based on a combination of wages and tips. The scheduled increases will be different for agricultural workers, seasonal workers, and for companies with five or fewer employees. Agricultural workers will receive a $12.50 minimum wage by 2024 when the legislature will examine whether a further increase is warranted. Employers utilizing seasonal workers and small companies will have until 2026 to reach $15.00.
If an employee is in training and not performing job duties at full capacity, employers will be allowed to pay a training wage starting in 2020. This training wage must be at least 90 percent of the applicable minimum wage for up to 120 hours of training. This is intended to ease the burden of regular increases on employers, though, after 120 hours, employers will need to ensure they are providing the right compensation under wage and hour laws. If you have reason to believe that your employer is not paying you the required hourly wage or overtime, never hesitate to discuss the matter with a knowledgeable employment lawyer.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Wage and Hour Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
At Traub Law Employment Attorneys, we will be closely watching all new developments regarding the minimum wage bill. When significant changes to wage and hour laws occur, there is always a chance that certain employers may fail to comply, denying you of your rightful compensation. If you believe your rights have been violated by your employer, (609) 951-2204 or contact us online today to speak with a New Jersey employment lawyer.