Happy New Year! Remember, the new normal is always better than the old normal.
New Jersey’s minimum wage will rise to $12 per hour on Friday even as businesses are struggling to stay open and critics are saying the higher cost will make a pandemic recovery even tougher.
Governor Phil Murphy, though, is standing by the $1 increase, mandated by legislation he signed in 2019, as a positive for employees whose hours may have been cut amid other hardships since March, when New Jersey reported its first Covid-19 case.
“Good news: Beginning tomorrow, New Jersey’s minimum wage will rise to $12 an hour — a boost for our workers, their families and our economy,” Murphy, a first-term Democrat running for re-election in November, wrote in a tweet on Thursday.
New Jersey’s minimum wage will rise to $15 in 2024 from $8.85 in February 2019. Twenty-nine U.S. states have minimum pay above the $7.25 federal rate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington-based lobbying group.
“A higher minimum wage is great except when your salary goes to zero when the business that you’re working for goes under,” Senator Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican from Little Silver, said by telephone.
The New Jersey Business and Industry Association and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce were among those opposed to the lack of an emergency delay option. Amid the pandemic they argued that businesses were burdened by mandatory closings earlier this year, personal protective equipment costs and reduced hours and indoor occupancy caps.