New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy just signed a bill to boost minimum wage for its residents.
Several New Jerseyans have a reason to celebrate this month! Recently, a new law was passed to up the hourly minimum wage to $15 per hour. By Governor Murphy's side was Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and the pair were among the first to congratulate several enthusiastic New Jersey residents who showed up to an event in local Elizabeth. Among the cheers in the crowd were "Ready for 15!"
The Garden State is the 4th state to jump on the minimum wage boost bandwagon. California, Massachusetts, and New York as well as the District of Columbia have already phased in higher minimum wage rates.
According to CBS News, the goal to raise New Jersey's minimum wage to $15 per hour was one of Murphy's campaign promises. Current employees earning minimum wage are being paid $8.85 per hour. This will increase to $10 per hour in July and will increase by $1 until the wage hits $15 in 2024. But employees for small businesses (as well as seasonal employees) can expect to see their minimum wage climb to $15 an hour in 2026 while employees who work for tips can expect to see their pay rate change from $2.13 to $5.13 an hour by 2024.
"It is a great day to make some history for New Jersey's working families," Murphy said. "And that's just what we're going to do. We've talked long enough about putting New Jersey on a responsible path to $15 an hour minimum wage. Today we start our way on this path."
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver received a large amount of applause when she said, "I don't want you to forget 2020 because we need a federal minimum wage [increase]."
While cheering and good spirits were heavy among the crowd in Elizabeth, not everyone in New Jersey is thrilled about the new bill. Several businesses testified during hearings that the new increase will end up hurting commerce. Certain Republican senators stated that the new bill could lead to business layoffs and possible automation transitioning while other residents expressed concern that if another recession impacts the local economy, the new higher wage could mean serious trouble for businesses.
"The amount of job loss that we are going to see among small businesses will be tragic," state Sen. Declan O'Scanlon said in a statement.
Governor Murphy acknowledged the concerns by stating that his plan is to introduce the increase with steady phases.
"I start from the basis that you've got full-time work earning poverty wages in 2019 in New Jersey," Murphy said. "There's no excuse that could justify this."
What do you think of New Jersey's new bill? Let us know in the comments!