May 25, 2020

New Jersey Becomes Latest State to Enact a $15 Minimum Wage Law

With its governor’s signature yesterday, New Jersey became the latest – and the third largest – state to pass a $15.00 per hour minimum wage bill.  The only states with larger populations than New Jersey passing such $15 minimum wage bills are California and New York, which enacted similar laws in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Under the New Jersey law, the state’s current minimum wage of $8.85 per hour will rise to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2019; to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2020; and an additional $1.00 per hour on January 1st of each successive year until reaching $15.00 per hour in 2024. Each year thereafter, based on state constitutional provisions, the minimum wage may increase further depending on the national Consumer Price Index. The New Jersey law does carve out a handful of exceptions, such as for seasonal employers and small employers (those with 5 or fewer employees), but most of those exceptions merely extend by a few years the schedule for implementing the $15 per hour minimum.

At the federal level, meanwhile, a bill to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15.00 per hour was introduced by Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives in early January. The current federal minimum wage has been $7.25 for nearly a decade. Backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and Senator Bernie Sanders, among others, the bill has 181 co-sponsors in the House and 31 co-sponsors in the Senate.

Contrary to the minimum wage stagnancy at the federal level, the arrival of 2019 saw even more states and municipalities implementing higher minimum wage rates, including increases in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Missouri, and an upcoming increase in Michigan. In addition, through the first month of 2019, bills to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour have been introduced in Virginia, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Maryland. The Virginia bill subsequently was defeated by a narrow, two-vote margin in the state senate.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020


About this Author

Jeffery  J Corradino, Labor, employment, Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Jeffrey J. Corradino is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has counseled clients in virtually every area of labor and employment law for over 20 years.

Mr. Corradino has extensive experience representing employers in public and private sector employment related litigation, collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters. Mr. Corradino is a frequent speaker on human resource and legal topics, including Wage and Hour;...

James M. McDonnell, Jackson Lewis, restrictive covenants lawyer, harassment retaliation attorney

James M. McDonnell is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He represents management exclusively in all aspects of employment litigation, including restrictive covenants, class-actions, harassment, retaliation, discrimination and wage and hour claims.

Mr. McDonnell regularly represents employers in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, the United States Department of Labor, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. Mr. McDonnell has successfully represented clients in matters before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.

David G. Islinger, Jackson Lewis, Employment Grievances Lawyer, Labor Contract Interpretation Attorney

David G. Islinger is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He joined Jackson Lewis in 1995.

Mr. Islinger devotes his practice primarily to traditional labor law, training and counseling matters. Mr. Islinger has extensive experience representing employers in representation cases and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Islinger also has represented employers in numerous grievance and arbitration proceedings involving issues surrounding contract...