Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed minimum wage legislation into law. One of the biggest changes took effect immediately – New Jersey municipalities, counties and schools are now covered under New Jersey’s minimum wage law.
Minimum Wage Law Includes Government Entities
Previously, the state government and local government entities were exempt from the state minimum wage. Accordingly, they only had to comply with the federal minimum, which is currently $7.25 an hour. However, the final amendments to Senate Bill 15expressly include the State, as well as all New Jersey counties, municipalities and school districts. Accordingly, local governments will need to implement the increases in the minimum wage for any employees now earning less than that amount.
Scheduled Minimum Wage Increases
Under the new law, the minimum wage rate will increase over time until it eventually reaches $15/hour. For most workers, it will go up to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2019, to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2020, and then increase by $1.00 per hour on January 1 of each year from 2021 to 2024, reaching a level of $15.00 per hour in 2024.
The law contains several exceptions that would slow wage increases for certain classes of workers, including seasonal workers and workers at businesses with fewer than six employees. For those workers, the minimum wage rate would be increased to $10.30 per hour on January 1, 2020, to $11.10 per hour on January 1, 2021, to $11.90 per hour on January 1, 2022, to $12.70 per hour on January 1, 2023, to $13.50per hour on January 1, 2024, to $14.30 per hour on January 1, 2025, to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2026.
“Seasonal employment” includes employment by a 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 that same time period, except that it does not include employment of employees engaged to labor on a farm on either a piece-rate or regular hourly rate basis.Meanwhile, “small employer” is defined to include an employer who employed less than six employees for every working day during a majority of the calendar workweeks in the current calendar year and not less than 48 calendar work weeks in the preceding calendar year.
For more information about the new minimum wage requirements or to obtain compliance assistance, we encourage you to contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Government Law Group.