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 A bill has been proposed in the New Jersey Legislature that would increase the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour beginning on July 1, 2012.If enacted, New Jersey’s minimum wage would be the third highest in the nation, behind only Washington and Oregon.  The bill also includes a provision for an automatic annual wage increase.  New Jersey would become only the second state in the region to establish such an automatic-wage-increase index.  The bill has already left committee and is likely to pass the full Assembly and the Senate.  Governor Christie has indicated that he is willing to consider increasing the minimum wage making the bill much more likely to succeed.

Similarly, a bill has been passed in the Assembly that would mandate restaurants and other businesses that employ workers who depend primarily on tips would have to pay at least 40 percent of the regular minimum wage as of June, and 69 percent of it by June, 2013. That amounts to $2.90 per hour and $5.00 per hour, respectively.  The restaurant industry fiercely opposes the measure, saying it will cost them money and jobs.  It is unclear what the Governor’s view is on this bill or whether he will sign it if the bill passes the Assembly and Senate.

We will continue to keep you updated on the status of this legislation.  If you have any questions regarding this issue or other labor or employment related issues, please contact Horan & Aronowitz, LLP.