NJ Minimum Wage Rates Continue To Rise

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY – In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to gradually increase the minimum wage in New Jersey to $15 per hour by 2024. Effective January 1, New Jersey’s minimum wage rose to $14.13 per hour for most employees (nj.gov). 

Governor Murphy took office in 2018 when the state minimum wage was $8.60 per hour. There is a specific and set way the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) chooses to set the minimum wage for the state. Each year, the pay is specified in law or is determined based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The NJDOL decides between the two options by whichever one is higher. The NJDOL will initiate this process again once the state minimum wage reaches $15 per hour. 

With his plan to increase the state minimum wage to $15, Governor Murphy said that “this increase will greatly improve the lives of countless New Jerseyans and ensure that hardworking people across our state are paid a living wage.” 

However, under law, some workers receive lesser pay than other professions to lessen the impact increased wages may have on certain businesses. Seasonal and small employers, businesses with fewer than six employees, were given until 2026 to increase their wages to $15 per hour. The minimum wage for these companies’ employees rose to $12.93 per hour on January 1 from $11.90. 

Agricultural employers were given until 2017 to match the $15 minimum wage. On January 1, agricultural workers began to receive $12.01 an hour from $11.05, and long-term care facility workers’ minimum wage increased to $17.13 per hour. 

Also, on January 1, tipped workers had a wage rise of $1 to $5.13 an hour. Tipped workers, with minimum wage and tips, must have total earnings equal to at least the minimum wage per hour. The employer must pay the difference if these workers’ wages do not equal the minimum wage. 

Employers can still reduce the minimum wage for their employees but only with advance notice. However, the reduction cannot bring the rate below minimum wage (nj.gov). 

The minimum wage rate by 2024, according to nj.gov, should be $15.13 for most employers, $13.93 for seasonal and small employers, $12.81 for agricultural employers, $5.26 for tipped workers, and $18.13 for long-term care facility direct care staff members.

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