New Jersey Passes Significant Minimum Wage Increase
Recent protests by fast-food workers throughout the nation have led to a renewed discussion of the minimum wage and what constitutes an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. While the federal minimum wage remains $7.25 per hour, individual states are free to impose higher minimum wage requirements. New Jersey is among the states ready to make such a move.
Some states have higher minimum wages than those set by federal law, while others have the same rate, a lower rate or none at all.
On Nov. 5, New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment raising the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour from $7.25. The amendment also provide for annual automatic cost of living increases. Accomplishing the change by way of a constitutional amendment rather than by statute offers several advantages:
- It avoids a gubernatorial veto of the measure.
- It insulates the measure from most legal challenges.
- It makes the measure more difficult to change or repeal.
Despite the success of the measure, wage and hour attorneys in New Jersey must stand ready to help workers whose employers flout the law.