New Jersey’s Progressive Journey Toward a $15 Minimum Wage

Explore New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Changes

Looking for a state with a high minimum wage? You’re in luck, New Jersey’s comes in 5th with a minimum wage of $14.13 an hour in 2023. In fact, New Jersey plans to raise the minimum wage to $15.13 in 2024 which will make it the 3rd highest paying state. New Jersey’s plan is to strengthen the economy by setting a higher pay standard for all employees and this is demonstarted by even tipped employees now make a minimum of $5.26 per hour plus tips. Over 300,000 workers have been positively impacted by this spike in minimum wage resulting in a stronger GDP and increases the number of jobs. However, a higher minimum wage isn’t perfect, there is a downside to the businesses and tends to cause inflation with a higher cost of living. In fact, New Jersey comes in at number ten of the most expensive states to live in.

New Jersey’s Minimum Wage

New Jersey Minimum Wage Debate

New Jersey took the initiative to raise the minimum wage in 2023 by $1.13 to $14.14 an hour well above the standard federal minimum wage rate. The plan is to gradually increase the minimum wage year over year to strengthen the working class and boost economic growth for all residents.

Whether you are an employer or an employee it is alway good practice to be familiar with the details of Jersy’s minimum wage. NJ minimum wage 2023 was nearly double the federal minimum wage rate. However, the hour minimum wage will go over to $15.13 per hour to bring New Jersey into the top 3 across the country..

What Tipped Employee’s Should know about NJ Minimum Wage Laws?

Jersey minimum wage law requires that tipped employee’s such as servers or bartenders receive a base pay from their employers of $5.26 an hour. The employer is responsible for a “tip credit” that can go as high as $9.87. This means if you add your hourly pay and the tips you make, it should at least hit the New Jersey minimum wage of $15.13 an hour.

One key takeaway is to know that if your base pay doesn’t add up to the Jersey minimum wage than your employer is responsible to cover the gap. This minimum wage law makes sure that everyone, tipped or not, ears the same minimum hourly rate. There isn’t Jersey minimum wage exemptions when it comes to tipped employees, they are entitled to the same minimum hourly rate as any other employee.

Overtime Rules in the Garden State

minimum wage worker

When dealing with minimum wage standards, you have to be cautious in regards to overtime pay requirements. In New Jersey there are strict overtime payment regulations in place to safeguard employee rights. An employer in New Jersey is required to legally compensate employees with one and a half times (1.5x) their normal hourly rate if they exceed 40 hours within a 7 day period.

However, not all employees qualify for overtime pay stipulations. Employees may be exempt if they fall under an administrative, executive, or professional role. While Jersey’s minimum wage law is considered the standard threshold that all companies must meet, companies are allowed to voluntarily exceed the state’s requirements and offer more favorable terms to attract employees, such as flexible or lowered weekly hours before overtime kicks in or a higher minimum wage increase when working weekends or holidays.

Special Considerations for Different Worker Categories

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There are special considerations for different categories of workers. For example, the minimum cash wage paid to agricultural workers, student workers, and businesses with fewer than six employees are subject to a distinct minimum wage rate and schedule which is flexible to the unique circumstances and to allow competitive yet fair labor standards.

Min while applicable to the majority of workers, contain particular stipulations for certain categories of labor such as agricultural workers, student workers, and businesses with fewer employees. These specialized groups are subject to distinct minimum wage rates and schedules that fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Agricultural Workers

When it comes to the state minimum wage for the agricultural sector, a unique schedule is applied to the cash wage paid. In 2023, agricultural workers had a minimum hourly rate of $12.81. The agricultural industry has until the year 2027 to bring all employees to the state minimum wage of $15 per hour goal.

The state of New Jersey elected officials wanted to allow special consideration to the agricultural industry due to special circumstances and hurdles they face to remain competitive. The ultimate goal is that all workers in New Jersey earn an equivalent minimum wage of $15 an hour while providing ample time for industries to adapt to applicable minimum wage laws.


As of 2023 in the New Jersey minimum wage for student workers was $14.13 per hour. This policy is to ensure that no matter age or job type that all employees in New Jersey have equal benefits and hikes in wages.

One of the key developments for young employees was ensuring they were entitled to paid sick leave. Student workers are entitled to one hour of leave per 30 hours they work on a job. Over a year timeframe they can collect up to a maximum of 40 hours. This was a step taken by New Jersey to bolster the rights of student minimum wage workers.

What does this mean for Small Business Owners?

small business technology management

New Jersey has applicable minimum wage laws specifically geared towards small businesses employing fewer than six employees. As of January 1, 2024 the new minimum wage is set at $13.73 per hour for businesses that fall into this category. This is an increase from the NJ minimum wage law is set to $12.93 per hour in 2023, but it is moving towards the ultimate goal to have small businesses paying $15 per hour minimum wage by the year 2026.

Navigate Wage Increases A Guide for Employers (Done)

When the minimum wage goes up it is particularly hard on small business owners and those who operate with a narrow profit margin. This is why the state of New Jersey made the increases over a 5 year time frame to allow these employers to proactively plan and adjust their business practices while adjusting to the new wage rates escalating the costs of labor and workforce development.

Budgeting for the Wage Floor Rise

It would help if you were prepared to adhere to any applicable minimum wage law for businesses. This includes preparing for labor cost increases, financial planning, and discussing with vendors if they anticipate price increases.

This may pose fiscal challenges such as inflation and supply chain issues as New Jersey citizens adapt to upward adjustments in the wage floor. Employers and customers may need to recalibrate pricing strategies and or implement cost-saving tactics to adapt to these changes.

Legal Counsel for Compliance

With the rise in the minimum wage it is important not to take shortcuts to save costs. Field investigators have the authority for on-site inspections in response to any complaints or wage concerns. Adhere to strict legal standards of accurate documentation and record-keeping to ensure you have no legal ramifications to the New Jersey minimum wage law.

If any disagreement over wages should arise it is important to seek legal counsel to help guide you through Wage Collection Procedures. Whether you are an employer or an employee expert legal advice can help navigate the proceedings.

Technology Integration to Offset Costs

Technology is allowing businesses to adapt to the escalating labor expenses. For example mobile ordering systems and self-service kiosks are now able to replace the need of a minimum wage employee and allowing businesses to lower staffing expenditures to stay competitive.

It’s not just technology on the customer front, companies are implementing technology such asWith inventory management software to save on labor costs. Further tools like scheduling programs are able to increase workforce productivity while limiting the need of excess staffing.

Ensure Compliance What NJ Employers

Adhering to labor laws is crucial to any employer. New Jersey is adamant about providing all eligible employees a livable wage. New Jersey mandated that labor law posters outlining key details, such as the current minimum wage rate, be displayed in the workplace. Businesses must update these posters frequently to adhere to any updated amendments made to the legislation.

Each employer is required to maintain a detailed record of every employee that covers:

  • The name of the individual
  • Where the individual lives.
  • If they are underage, you must keep their birth date on file
  • You have to keep a log of the total hours worked.
  • You have to keep a thorough record of the compensation received.
  • A record is subtracting any deductions from pay.

These measures are to raise awareness of wage laws, ensuring that they are followed to avoid legal issues and create a fair workplace for all. These laws are for workforce development and labor practices, ensuring everyone benefits.

Preparing for the Future of Minimum Wage

Minimum wage handwriting text on paper

This year New Jersey employers have to embrace the new $15.13 per hour standard minimum wage rate. This what set in motion from legislation signed by Governor Murphy in February 2019. This will conclude the legislation implemented with a 5 year plan for increasing the minimum wage. Starting in 2025 any further increases to the state’s minimum wage will be linked with changes in the Consumer Price Index, which will align hourly wages with fluctuations in living costs.

These impending changes to the Jersey minimum wage are important to note, because it will pose challenges for local businesses due partly to increase of cost to raising employee pay rates which in return effects most workers, but it will also effect the seasonal employers and employees from scaling their business. The overall thought process was to spread out this increase of multiple years to provide businesses with time for financial planning and adaptation.

Despite the strides implemented since 2019, New Jersey still trails behind Washington, D.C. for the highest hourly minimum wage rate in the Unites States. Regardless of the hour minimum wage rates across the Country New Jersey’s minimum hourly wage is still one of the highest in the country. The majority of the country has a lot of ground to catch up to New Jersey. However, the Jersey State minimum wage is one of the better minimum hourly wage rates in the country.

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Jennifer Davis

Hello! I'm Jennifer Davis, an author here at Business One Media. While I've spent years working for various newspapers, delving deep into stories that mattered, I've always had a penchant for business journalism. This platform allows me to indulge in this hobby, turning my professional experiences into insights and stories that resonate. With a degree in journalism, my aim is to distill the intricacies of the business world into digestible, engaging narratives. Beyond my contributions here, I deeply value the time I spend mentoring budding journalists and exploring stories from around the globe. Join me as we uncover the tales that shape the business landscape.