New Jersey becomes 4th state to approve 15 hourly wage

ELIZABETH, N.J. — New Jersey on Monday became the latest state boost its hourly minimum wage to $15 after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a measure phasing in the higher rate over five years.Murphy signed the bill alongside Democratic legislative leaders in Elizabeth after the trio announced a deal on the higher wage last month.New Jersey joins California, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia in phasing in the higher rate. The $15 wage is a prominent policy goal of left-leaning groups, as well as the fulfilment of a key campaign promise by Murphy.“Working families deserve financial security. A higher minimum wage will support families, strengthen our economy, and help make New Jersey more affordable,” Murphy said in a tweet announcing his plan to sign the legislation Monday.Republicans and many businesses, though, testified during hearings that the higher wage will increase costs and hurt commerce.The bill raises the current $8.85 minimum wage to $10 an hour in July, and then increases the rate by $1 in subsequent years until it reaches $15 in 2024, but not for all workers.Farm workers’ wages will climb to $12.50 over five years, for example. Small businesses with and seasonal employees would see their minimum wage reach $15 an hour in 2026. Tipped workers, who currently have a minimum hourly wage of $2.13, would see it climb to $5.13 an hour by 2024.Mike Catalini, The Associated Press

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