Starting January 1st, 2024 the state of New Jersey will join only four other states with the highest minimum wages required by law in the country.  These latest changes come as the Garden State looks to keep up with Cost of Living Increases.

New Jersey will join Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, and Washington as the only states that have their Minimum Wage at least $15 per hour.  Starting January 1st, most businesses in New Jersey will be required to pay their employees a minimum of $15.13 as part of legislation that became law in 2019.  The law requires that the state's minimum wage increase by $1 per hour each year – or more if warranted because of significant increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Before Governor Phil Murphy signed into law this year-by-year increase, New Jersey's minimum wage was $8.60 per hour.

Seasonal employers and businesses that hve six or less employees are being given a grace period until 2026 to reach $15 per hour. The current minimum wage for those employees is $12.93 per hour and will increase to $13.73 on January 1st.  Under this New Jersey law, Tipped workers wages are a minimum of $5.26 per hour but if their wages plus tips does not equal the state minimum wage requirements, then their employers must pay the difference.

Also, Farmers and other Agricultural Employees will see an increase of 80 cents to their minimum hourly wages. These works will start being paid a minimum of $12.81 on January 1st. Long-term care facility workers will also see a one dollar increase in their minimum hourly wages to $18.13 an hour.

New Jersey Household Expenses are the third most in the United States, averaging $8,165 more per year than the average American Household on their bills ($32,722 as of August 2023).  So even with the increase to $15.13 per hour, that still means the gross income of a minimum wage employee falls short of the median cost of bills in the state of New Jersey ($31,470.40 is what a 40 hour a week minimum wage worker is projected to make).  Difficult to rationalize paying people a "minimum wage" that is below the median Household Expenses in the state of New Jersey.

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