New Jersey Minimum Wage Change

July 18, 2019
On February 4, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that will raise New Jersey's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, boosting wages for more than one million workers.

Here are some of the most important details about the new law:

  • For most workers, the new law will raise the minimum wage to $15 per  hour, beginning with an increase to $10 per hour effective July 1, 2019, and continuing with an increase of $1 on January 1 of each year through 2024. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4(a).
  • For seasonal and small business employees, the law raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, beginning with an increase to $10.30 per hour effective January 1, 2020, and gradually rising to $15 per hour by 2026. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4(c).
  • For agricultural workers, the law raises the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour, beginning with an increase to $10.30 per hour effective January 1, 2020, and gradually rising to $12.50 per hour by 2024. Additional increases will be subject to further determination. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4(d).
  • The tipped wage will also rise, beginning with an increase to $2.63 effective July 1, 2019, and gradually rising to $5.13 per hour by 2024. That wage, combined with a worker's tips, must still reach the minimum wage. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4(e).
  • In addition, for most classes of workers, an employer must pay the employee at least 1 ½ times their salary for any overtime worked. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4(b).

  • For more information, NJDOL makes available on its website (nj.gov/labor) a summary chart, as well as the answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

    You should also be aware of the broad authority  the DOL possess to investigate  potential violations of the new minimum wage law, to impose criminal and administrative sanctions for non-compliance, and to bring civil lawsuits to protect the rights of workers. Violations may be punished by heavy fines, administrative penalties, and even imprisonment. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a22. The state may also pursue civil lawsuits to recover unpaid wages for workers. N.J.S.A. 34:11- 56a25. They intend to use these tools to deter and punish wage and hour violations.

    We urge employers to review New Jersey's wage and hour laws carefully. The DOL will enforce these laws according to their terms, and will not tolerate efforts to skirt labor protections. In particular, they have made it a priority to combat wage theft and employee misclassification the practice by which certain employers have  classified workers as independent contractors instead of employees, and thus deprived them of the statutory rights to which they are entitled. They will use their broad authority under the law to vigorously  pursue the misclassification of workers, especially when the practice is designed to evade the protections our new minimum wage law promises. So we encourage employers to carefully review whether, under New Jersey law, their workers really do qualify as bona fide independent contractors.