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New NJ Minimum Wage Law

The new legislation that was signed into law 2/4/2019 makes it mandatory to increase the minimum wage in New Jersey to $15.00 per hour by 2024 for most workers. Seasonal workers and small-business employees would reach $15.00 per hour by 2026. Farm workers would earn at least $12.50 an hour by 2024 and have the possibility of it rising to $15.00 per hour by 2027. 

For most workers other than seasonal, farm workers, and those working for small employers, the rate will increase to $10.00 per hour beginning July 1st 2019. It will then increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1st 2020. Each January 1st after 2020, the minimum wage will increase by $1.00 per hour until it reaches $15.00 per hour on January 1st 2024 (See Section Below)

For Employers With 6 Or More Employees:

Date                            Per Hour

July 1st 2019               $10.00

Jan. 1st 2020               $11.00

Jan. 1st 2021               $12.00

Jan. 1st 2022               $13.00

Jan. 1st 2023               $14.00

Jan. 1st 2024               $15.00

Small employers are defined as having less than six (6) employees. For small employers and seasonal employees (other than tipped employees) the minimum wage rate will be increased to $10.30 per hour on January 1st 2020. After January 1st 2020, the following rates will apply to employees who are employed by seasonal and small employers:

Small Employer Employees & Seasonal Workers:

Date                            Per Hour

Jan. 1st 2020               $10.30

Jan. 1st 2021               $11.10

Jan. 1st 2022               $11.90

Jan. 1st 2023               $12.70

Jan. 1st 2024               $13.50

Jan. 1st 2025               $14.30

Jan. 1st 2026               $15.00

Seasonal Employer” is defined as “an employer who exclusively provides its services in a continuous period of not more than ten weeks during the months of June, July, August, September, or an employer for which, during the immediately previous calendar year, not less than two thirds of the employer’s gross receipts were received in a continuous period of not more than sixteen weeks or for which not less than 75 percent of the wages paid by the employer during the immediately preceding year were paid for work performed during a single calendar quarter”.

Seasonal employment” is defined as “employment during a year by an employer that is a seasonal employer or non-profit or government entity of an individual who is not employed by that employer outside of the period of that year commencing on May 1 and ending September 30, or employment by a governmental entity in a recreational program or service during the period commencing on May 1 and ending September 30, except that “seasonal employment” does not include employment of employees engaged to labor on a farm on either a piece-rate or regular hourly rate basis.” (Please see legislation for complete text)

Training Wages

Training Wage” is “a wage, commencing on January 1, 2020, of not less than 90 percent of the minimum wage that may be paid to an employee enrolled in a qualified training program. The training wage may be paid during the first 120 hours after hiring the employee for employment in an occupation in which the employee has no previous similar or related experience”. There are additional stipulations for employers regarding the use of a training wage. (Please see legislation, Page 8, Section G for additional criteria regarding training wages.)

Consumer Price Index

Minimum wage increases provided by the NJ State Constitution based on CPI-W increases will continue to be applied in all cases in any year in which the increase set by the bill are less than the CPI-W increase, including all years after 2024. Therefore, it is likely that increases in the minimum wage, because they will continue to be under the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as outlined in the state constitution, will likely be over $15 per hour over time.

Farm Wages:

Date                            Per Hour

Jan. 1st 2020               $10.30

Jan. 1st 2021               $10.30

Jan. 1st 2022               $10.90

Jan. 1st 2023               $11.70

Jan. 1st 2024               $12.50

Wages for farm workers could increase but only after the NJ Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development evaluate the impact of the minimum wage increase outlined above on farm workers, farm employers and the viability of these increase on the agricultural community in the state. This evaluation must be completed by March 31st 2024 and the recommendations would go into effect if the Legislature approves it and enacts legislation no later than June 30th 2024.