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By Matthew Fazelpoor
NJBiz, January 3, 2023

The ringing in of 2023 brings an increase to the minimum wage for most Garden State employees from $13 to $14.13 per hour. The raise is part of legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2019 that calls for the state’s minimum wage to gradually increase to $15 per hour by 2024. ...

One group supporting the increase is Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, which says hikes across the country will boost consumer spending; strengthen local economies; and improve employee hiring, retention, productivity and customer service.

In a press release, Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said that minimum wage increases are a great boost for the new year.

“These needed raises don’t stay in workers’ pockets. They energize communities, as workers and their families have more to spend at local businesses,” said Sklar. “Minimum wage raises also pay off in lower employee turnover, increased productivity and better customer service, which strengthens small business competitiveness.”

In that group’s December press release, two New Jersey business owners shared their support for the new increases.

“We’ve overcome economic headwinds since the pandemic hit to quadruple our locations. We couldn’t have done that without investing in our employees,” said John Schall, owner of El Jefe’s Tacqueria, with locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. “With fair pay we see low employee turnover, which saves us time and money and fortifies our customer service. Minimum wage increases in Massachusetts and New Jersey will bring needed pay raises for workers and more spending at restaurants like ours.”

“At &pizza, paying fair wages is vital for our growth, success and reputation in a very competitive industry,” said Michael Lastoria, founder and CEO of &pizza, which has locations in New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Virginia. “All workers should make decent wages whether they work for us or anyone else, and that’s why raising the minimum wage is so important. When workers are valued, businesses are most productive, and communities and economies are stronger.”

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