Andrew Connolly, Staff Writer
The New Jersey minimum wage has once again increased under Governor Phil Murphy. In July, the minimum wage was raised from $8.85 to $10 in the state. As of Jan. 1, 2020, minimum wage is now up to $11. This is all a part of a 5-year phase-in of $15 per hour minimum wage salary.
The plan is to increase the minimum wage by $1 every year until the minimum wage reaches $15. However, the increase to $15 has yet to be confirmed, and residents will not know if the wage increase will come into effect until early 2024. Then, a meeting between the New Jersey Labor Commissioner and the Secretary of Agriculture will jointly decide if they will recommend $15 for minimum wage. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, a third party member will be added, which will be appointed by the governor and advised by the Senate.
The Torch asked students about the minimum wage increase to get their opinions on how it affects their financial situation. Corey Eyer, a part-time plumber and student here at BCC, admitted that the wage raise has not affected him much, but said that his friends have seen a slight cut in their hours since the recent wage increase.
This is happening due to employers either not wanting or not having enough to pay part-timers and teenage employees more money. Hours are effectively cut in an effort to save themselves some money.
When asked if he agrees with the yearly increase for the minimum wage, Eyer said that “with the cost of living only getting higher, it only makes sense to increase the amount we make.”
Sultan Kahlo, a paid hospital volunteer, said that the increase of minimum wage has little effect on his pay, but that other conditional employees have a problem with the wage raise.
Due to only being conditional employees and not part-time, they didn’t get the same raise as other part-timers and still make the same rate they had before the start of 2020. This caused many outrages, even leading some to consider moving out of state.
“It should be even more than $15,” Kahlo said about the recent wage increase. “People living on their own can have a tough time with even making $15 an hour, at $11 it makes it difficult to even have the basic necessities.”
Being a former resident of the United Kingdom, Kahlo explained how minimum wage works across the pond. There, the minimum wage is worth 10 British pounds, or $15 USD, hourly. He also explained how some Scandinavian countries have a minimum wage of about $19 per hour. He claims that this has increased morale in these Nordic countries and has helped workers become more focused, knowing that they will have a good enough income to not have to worry about the lack of necessities.
Only time will tell if that will be the same case here in the Garden State.