The term minimum wage refers to the lowest wage an employer is allowed by law to pay an employee. In The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), the first minimum wage in the United States was set at $0.25 per hour. Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has been raised 22 times, most recently to $7.25 in 2009.
In some states, the minimum wage set by the state government is higher than that set by the federal government. The minimum wage NJ residents currently receive according to NJ state law is $8.38.
Currently, a bill to raise the minimum wage NJ law requires is before the New Jersey Legislature. The bill would enact a $15 minimum wage requirement in the state of New Jersey. This minimum wage increase represents an 80 percent wage hike, and would put extra money in the paycheck of the New Jersey residents who need it most.
As promising as this sounds for the citizens of New Jersey, there is a significant fight within state legislature, and the success of the bill has no guarantee. Here are five things to know about New Jersey’s minimum wage fight:
- Proponents Against Poverty: Those in favor of the minimum wage hike argue that full-time workers should not have to live in poverty and rely on government assistance to survive. On the current minimum wage, full-time workers struggle to put food on the table and keep their lights on. A responsible, contributing member of society should be able to make ends meet. A $15 minimum wage would help to enable that.
- Worries and Fears: Those who oppose the minimum wage hike are concerned that a higher minimum wage would cause job cuts and price increases. Small businesses may not be able to survive as they may not be able to afford to pay employees such higher rates.
- The Process: Under the current bill, the wage hike would not be sudden. Rather, it would happen gradually, over time, increasing minimum wage to $10.10 in 2017, then to increase by at least $1.25 an hour until 2021. After 2021, annual increases would be based upon the consumer price index.
- The Backup Plan: If the bill is vetoed, the proponents of the plan have said they will reshape the legislation as a constitutional amendment that would be submitted for approval. If this were approved, the timeline of the phase-in process would be delayed by a year.
- The Current Minimum Wage: The minimum wage NJ requires is currently controlled by the state Constitution at $8.38, set in 2015.
While New Jersey residents await the outcome of this bill to increase the minimum wage NJ requires, it’s important for all New Jersey employees to remember that they are entitled to the fair wages that the New Jersey government currently requires. If you are concerned that you have been denied the fair wages you are owed, The Law Offices of Thomas More Holland has expertise and experience helping New Jersey workers like yourself ensure you are receiving the compensation you deserve under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the state law of New Jersey. For more information, contact our offices today at (215) 592-8080.
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