NJ Spotlight: Murphy, top Dems to talk tomorrow on new $15 minimum wage proposal

By John Reitmeyer
NJ Spotlight, Dec 12, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic leaders remain divided over key issues, including the number of workers who’d have to wait longer for the increase ...

The bill put forward by [Assembly Speaker Craig] Coughlin last week would also bring the minimum wage gradually to $15, with an initial hike to $9.50 on July 1, 2019. The rate would then go up to $11 on January 1, 2020 and be increased by $1.15 each subsequent year until it reached $15 in 2024.

But for seasonal workers, farmworkers, teenagers and the employees of businesses with fewer than 10 workers, things would happen more slowly: an initial increase to $10.10 would happen on January 1, 2020; to $10.35 on January 1, 2022; $10.70 on January 1, 2023; $11.10 on January 1, 2024; $11.70 on January 1, 2025; $12.45 on January 1, 2026; $13.20 on January 1, 2027 and $14.10 on January 1, 2028. It would only hit $15 on January 1, 2029. ...

It’s that slower path that has upset liberal groups that have been advocating for the $15 minimum wage, including New Jersey Policy Perspective and New Jersey Working Families. While speaking to reporters yesterday at Earth Friendly Products, a company that already pays its employees a $17 minimum wage, Murphy echoed their concerns. He also referenced a proposal that his office sent legislative staff in May that reportedly called for some carveouts in a nod to lawmakers’ concerns, but only for farmworkers and teenage employees of seasonal businesses.

“That path can’t be too slow, and it can’t be too large a group of workers,” Murphy said yesterday. ...

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