NJ minimum raise got a boost

A new year, a new minimum wage in New Jersey.

As of January 1st, the state's minimum wage jumped to $11 per hour, part of a five-year phase-in of a $15 hourly minimum wage.

Action News caught up with people in Pennsauken, who live and work in the Garden State.

"It's about time, to be honest with you. I don't know how people lived when it was $8, $9 an hour," said Louis Radico of Turnersville.

Shantel Johnson, whose daughter makes minimum wage, explained this is a positive step for her family.

"I don't have to get a second job," Johnson told 6abc.

Camden resident and retiree Mike Marrow also saw this as promising, "I think it's very good because the minimum wage has been so low for so long, and the cost of living has risen so high, people can hardly get to feed themselves."

Critics of the move worry the move will lead to fewer jobs and hurt small businesses

Earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legislation ratcheting up the state's $8.85 minimum wage, which increased to $10 per hour in July.

The statewide minimum wage will continue to increase by $1 per hour every January 1 until it reaches $15 per hour on January 1, 2024.

"I think it's great. I'm actually in that range of people getting the raise," explained Camden resident Nelie Martinez.

She added, "It's an upside and a downside. The upside is a little more money, more than last year and the years before, but a downside is, everything else will go up as well."

New Jersey is one of 24 states that will increase the minimum wage, and more than a dozen cities and counties already have reached $15 an hour.

Kirk Edwards, who works in New Jersey, said, "People work for a minimum wage, and can't make their car payment, can't make their rent, so it's a struggle. So any little bit helps."

Seasonal workers and employees at small businesses with five or fewer workers who were exempt from the previous hike over the summer will see an increase to $10.30 for 2020.

The base minimum wage for them will reach $15 per hour by January 1, 2026.

By January 1, 2028, workers in these groups will receive the minimum wage inclusive of inflation adjustments that take place from 2024 to 2028, equalizing the minimum wage with the main cohort of New Jersey workers.

For agricultural workers, the base minimum wage will increase to $12.50 per hour by January 1, 2024, and no later than March 31, 2024, the New Jersey Labor Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture will jointly decide whether to recommend that the minimum wage for agricultural workers increase to $15 per hour by January 1, 2027, as specified in the bill.

If they cannot come to an agreement, a third member, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, will break the tie. If there is a recommendation to disapprove of the scheduled increases or suggest an alternative pathway, the Legislature will have the ability to implement that recommendation by passage of a concurrent resolution.

The minimum wage for tipped workers will climb from $2.63 an hour to $3.13 an hour.
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