As predicted by HR Legalist in May, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a democratic-backed measure that would have gradually increased New Jersey’s minimum wage from $8.38 to $15 per hour over a four-year period. In today’s veto message from a grocery store in Pennington, NJ, and in a press release, the Governor paraphrased many concerns previously raised by the business community in opposition to the bill, including increased supply and labor costs, potential price increases or layoffs, and pressure on businesses to leave New Jersey.
As expected, leading Democratic legislators in Trenton are now preparing to put the proposed increase before New Jersey voters in the fall of 2017. Given the current Democratic majorities in both houses of the state legislature, the amendment has sufficient support to make it onto the 2017 ballot pursuant to Article IX of the New Jersey Constitution.
New Jersey employers may recall that the current minimum wage of $8.38 per hour is actually the result of a ballot measure, approved by the voters in the fall of 2013 with about 60% of the popular vote. It remains to be seen whether voters will support a more substantial increase. If approved, New Jersey would be only the third state to adopt a future increase to $15 per hour, joining California, New York and the District of Columbia (a table showing the current status of state minimum wage changes can be found here).
HR legalist will continue to monitor this potential ballot issue, as well as other wage & hour changes that will impact employers in New Jersey and elsewhere.
Ivo Becica focuses his practice on advising employers on how to reduce litigation risk and resolve employee issues, and on defending employers in litigation if necessary. He can be reached at 215-667-6335 or email@example.com