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New Jersey Introduces Bill to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour by Constitutional Amendment

On February 11, 2016, New Jersey State Senate President Steven Sweeney, D-Gloucester, formally introduced legislation for a ballot referendum that would authorize an amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. 

Senator Sweeney was joined by State Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, and 17 additional co-sponsors in introducing the legislation. The bill, SCR1500, would amend the State Constitution to set the minimum wage rate at $9.00 per hour starting in 2018. The rate would then rise by one dollar each year until it reaches $15.00 in 2024.  In 2025 and thereafter, the minimum wage would continue to increase in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The state’s current minimum wage rate is $8.38 per hour.  To reach voters in the general election, the proposal will require majority votes in both houses of the Legislature in consecutive years, or, in the alternative,  three-fifths majority votes in a single year.

Also on the table is Bill A15, introduced on February 8, 2016 by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson, that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour in the next calendar year, but not through a constitutional amendment.  (See our February 4, 2016 blog post). 

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 46


About this Author

Allan Bloom, Litigation Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm

Allan Bloom is an experienced trial lawyer who represents management in a broad range of employment and labor law matters. He has successfully defended a number of the world’s leading financial services, investment management, technology, consumer products, telecommunications, publishing, insurance, construction, and lodging companies, as well as global law firms and cultural institutions, against claims for unpaid wages, employment discrimination, breach of contract, and wrongful discharge, both at the trial and appellate court levels.

Carolyn M Dellatore, Labor Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose law firm

Carolyn M. Dellatore is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Law Counseling & Training Group, resident in the Newark office. Her practice focuses on the representation and counseling of employers in all areas of employment and labor relations.