Will Voters Get Final Say on NJ Minimum Wage Increase?

March 14, 2013
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently vetoed legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $8.50 and tie future increases to the consumer price index (CPI). However, New Jersey employers should be aware increases could still be on the horizon. Although Christie rejected the bill passed by the legislature, he proposed his own plan, which would include a more gradual increase that would be phased in over three years. The minimum wage would go up by 25 cents this year, by 50 cents next year, and by another 25 cents in 2015. While business groups appear to favor Christie’s proposal, it is unclear whether lawmakers will be willing to compromise. Legislation has been introduced that would sidestep the veto by passing a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage. Like the prior bill, it would initially raise the minimum wage by $1.25, and link future increases to the CPI. Before the constitutional amendment can be placed on the ballot, the Assembly must approve it. Voters would then have a say in November. If a majority votes for the amendment, the wage hikes will then become part of the state’s constitution.  Of course, they would become difficult to oppose in the future. Given the potential fiscal impact for New Jersey employers, we are tracking these proposals. If you have any questions about the proposed legislation or would like to discuss how it may impact your business, please contact me, Charles Yuen, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.