16-Cent Wage Hike is Not Enough for New Jersey’s Low-Paid Workers

Today, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the state’s minimum wage would increase by 16 cents from $8.44 to $8.60 on January 1, 2018, providing a very modest boost to many of New Jersey’s low-paid workers.

While an increase in the minimum wage is a welcomed development, $8.60 an hour remains far below what it takes for a worker to afford the most basic of needs on a daily basis in high-cost New Jersey. Legislators were smart to tie minimum wage raises to increases in inflation so that minimum wage workers don’t fall even further behind, but the new hourly wage accounts to an inadequate income of less than $18,000 a year for a full-time worker.

It’s clearer than ever: gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour is urgently needed to reduce income inequality and help hundreds of thousands of hard working New Jerseyans afford basic needs for themselves and their families. The sooner elected officials can recognize this need and work together to help our friends and neighbors who are struggling to get by on the current insufficient minimum wage level, the better of all of us – workers, families, and businesses – will be.

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