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Government New Jersey becomes 4th state to approve $15 hourly wage

New Jersey becomes 4th state to approve $15 hourly wage

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey on Monday became the latest state boost its hourly minimum wage to $15 after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a measure phasing in the higher rate over five years.

Murphy signed the bill alongside Democratic legislative leaders in Elizabeth after the trio announced a deal on the higher wage last month.

New Jersey joins California, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia in phasing in the higher rate. The $15 wage is a prominent policy goal of left-leaning groups, as well as the fulfillment of a key campaign promise by Murphy.

“Working families deserve financial security. A higher minimum wage will support families, strengthen our economy, and help make New Jersey more affordable,” Murphy said in a tweet announcing his plan to sign the legislation Monday.

Republicans and many businesses, though, testified during hearings that the higher wage will increase costs and hurt commerce.

The bill raises the current $8.85 minimum wage to $10 an hour in July, and then increases the rate by $1 in subsequent years until it reaches $15 in 2024, but not for all workers.

Farm workers’ wages will climb to $12.50 over five years, for example. Small businesses with and seasonal employees would see their minimum wage reach $15 an hour in 2026. Tipped workers, who currently have a minimum hourly wage of $2.13, would see it climb to $5.13 an hour by 2024.

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