ELIZABETH, NJ – New Jersey residents are on their way to making $15 per hour at work.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation on Monday that will gradually raise the states’ minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024.
“For far too long, too many of our fellow New Jerseyans have been struggling to survive on wages that have not kept up with the cost of living,” Murphy said. “I am incredibly proud to sign legislation that raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, ensuring that the most vulnerable among us will have the means to put food on the table while growing our economy and addressing priorities of the small business community.”
The bill (A-15), sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, will increase wages to $10 per hour on July 1, followed by $1 increments every year on January 1 until 2024.
“Our goal of reaching a $15 minimum wage will now become a reality,” Sweeney said. “A minimum wage should be a living wage. This is a progressive plan that will provide greater economic fairness for minimum wage workers, helping to improve their standard of living and their quality of life. We can now achieve greater economic fairness by closing the wealth gap that has separated segments of society.”
Seasonal and small businesses with five or fewer employees were given two extra years to reach $15 per hour (January 2026), followed by two years of inflation adjustments so that by January 1, 2028 all workers in New Jersey, except agricultural employees, will have an equal minimum wage.
“I am proud to join Governor Murphy and Senate President Sweeney during this remarkable day to celebrate our minimum wage bill becoming law,” Coughlin said. “Too many workers aren’t earning enough to make ends meet. But, that all changes today. Today marks a new day for New Jersey residents and future generations, as we gradually raise the minimum wage and help alleviate poverty across our great state.”
According to the bill, agricultural workers will see a wage increase to $12.50 per hour by January 1, 2024. The New Jersey Labor Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture will then 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 the passage of a concurrent resolution.
“No family in New Jersey can live on our current minimum wage,” said Giovana Castaneda, Make the Road NJ youth leader. “Today, New Jersey takes a historic step forward by signing a law that will raise the minimum wage across the state to $15, finally giving working families the compensation we deserve. This victory is a sign of the power of the Fight for 15. As a teen worker who fought hard with young people across the state not to be left behind, I am proud that teen workers are included in the minimum wage hike. Our work has value and contributes to our families' income and allows us to save for college. We are thrilled to welcome Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Speaker Coughlin to our community center to sign the law, and are grateful for their leadership."