New Jersey joins California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington DC on path to $15 minimum wage
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Feb. 4, 2019 — Local business owners applauded Gov. Phil Murphy for signing a bill into law today gradually raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Raising the minimum wage will help businesses, communities and the economy as workers have more money to spend throughout the Garden State. What’s more, businesses will benefit from lower employee turnover and increased productivity and customer satisfaction. Business owners ranging from restaurant owners to manufacturers support a $15 minimum wage.
The new law, reflecting a compromise reached between the governor and legislative leaders, raises the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 for businesses with more than five employees, and to $15 by 2026 for seasonal employees and businesses with five or fewer workers – followed by a two-year period for the slower-path minimum wage to catch up to cost-of-living adjustments in the regular minimum wage by 2028. New Jersey is joining California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington DC in phasing in a $15 minimum wage.
“New Jersey is taking a big step forward in raising the minimum wage for most workers to $15 by 2024. It would be better, however, if that timetable applied to all businesses instead of putting some on a slower path,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “A lagging minimum wage will hurt small businesses, not help them. Small businesses that choose to pay the lower minimum wage will have more trouble hiring, experience higher turnover and lower productivity as employees go elsewhere to make a living, and undermine the customer service that keeps people coming through their doors. Rebranding ‘Shop Small’ as ‘Pay Small’ is the last thing small businesses need.”
New Jersey business owners commented today in support of a $15 minimum wage:
Vincent Clyne, Co-Owner and Managing Partner, PAIRINGS Restaurant, Cranford: “Raising New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15, as well as increasing the tipped wage, is something we’re behind because it supports employees, benefits businesses, and improves the economy. As a local restaurant, we, like many small business owners, are often looking for ways to reduce employee turnover and improve our customer experience. Increasing the minimum wage helps reduce costs associated with hiring, training, and retaining workers while improving productivity. Happier employees not only result in happier customers but ultimately a more stable business leading to a thriving economy and community.”
Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable Business Council and Founder, Triple Ethos LLC, Point Pleasant Beach: “Consumer spending is the mainstay of our economy, and raising the minimum wage is a very efficient way to strengthen consumer demand. Government has a vital role to play in setting a level playing field for businesses. As the value of the minimum wage has eroded relative to the actual cost of living, low-wage companies have shifted labor costs to taxpayers. Companies paying wages employees can live on have been subsidizing their low-wage competitors through the public safety net. That’s not an efficient or fair way to run an economy. Today’s bill signing means real progress for New Jersey.”
Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products®, maker of more than 200 ECOS® brand green cleaning products, Parsippany: “We’ve paid a living wage significantly above the minimum wage for many years, and we’ve seen long-term savings in the form of low turnover and better productivity and customer service. The direct costs of turnover include recruitment, interviewing and training. The indirect costs are less obvious, but they’re significant: lost productivity during onboarding, lower efficiency and lost corporate memory. Raising the minimum wage is an important investment in businesses and the consumer spending that drives New Jersey’s economy.”
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org
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