From the Record:
When the state’s minimum wage rose from $5.15 an hour to $6.15 a year ago, employers shrugged it off, because most were already paying workers more than $6 an hour.
But when the wage rises again Sunday, to $7.15 an hour, more employers and workers will feel the impact.
“About 200,000 people will get a pay raise,” said David Socolow, commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Employers facing higher payroll costs may cut back on hiring or trim their workers’ benefits, employer groups say.
The hardest hit employers will be small companies with thin profit margins, especially in the tourism industry, which relies on seasonal labor, said John Rogers, vice president for human resource issues at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.
John Galandak, president of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, said the new wage law won’t help New Jersey’s image among companies deciding where to locate or expand their operations.
“It’s part of a larger picture,” Galandak said. “New Jersey has this reputation for being less business-friendly. Lots of people feel that the government shouldn’t be involved in legislating wages; let employees and employers negotiate that.”
When New Jersey’s minimum wage increase was being debated, some employers argued that a higher minimum would hurt New Jersey’s efforts to compete with neighboring states for business.
But New York’s minimum, now $6.75, is scheduled to rise to $7.15 in January. And Pennsylvania recently approved an increase in the wage, which will reach $7.15 on July 1.
John Sarno, head of the Employers Association of New Jersey, said the higher minimum wage has not resulted in wage inflation or job elimination.