What’s the Minimum Wage in New Jersey?

Daniel Bagley  | 

On January 1st, 2019, New Jersey’s minimum wage increased by 25 cents for most employers. Then, on February 4th, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law to steadily increase the minimum wage to $15 in the future. There are some caveats that apply to the following NJ minimum wage information, so be sure to read the details to find out how they may apply to you.      

2019 Minimum Wage in New Jersey: $8.85 per hour

By state law, the New Jersey minimum wage rate for most employers is $8.85 per hour. In 2008, the state changed the minimum wage from $7.15 to to $7.25 per hour (the change took effect in 2009); in 2014, the rate increased to $8.25, after which it continued to increase to its current rate of $8.85. This rate applies to large employers as well as seasonal employers and small employers with fewer than six employees on their payroll. It also includes agricultural employers. 

However, there are some exceptions and exemptions that may apply to you. Your employer doesn’t legally have to pay you the $8.85 minimum hourly wage if: 

  • You’re a minor (a “young person”) who works at a nursing home, summer camp, “professional office,” library, or seasonal amusement business, such as a boardwalk amusement business;
  • You work at a restaurant or other establishment where you earn tips (see “Tipped” section below);
  • You’re a full-time college student who works for the university and earns at least 85 percent of the minimum wage rate;
  • You’re an outside salesperson, in which case you’re exempted from the minimum wage requirement;
  • You’re a car salesperson, in which case you’re exempted from the minimum wage requirement;
  • You work part-time as a babysitter, in which case you’re exempted from the minimum wage requirement;
  • You work at a summer camp operated by a nonprofit organization from June through September annually. 

No one can blame you for asking for a raise if you’re any of the above. 

If you work at an establishment where you earn tips, or you earn a weekly, monthly, or yearly salary, keep reading to find out how New Jersey’s minimum wage rate applies to you. 

Tipped: Suggested rate of $2.13 per hour; with tips, pay must equal $8.85 per hour

As per the federal government’s law regarding tips, New Jersey allows employers to pay tipped employees less than $8.85 per hour. While the federal minimum wage for employees who receive tips is $2.13 per hour, New Jersey doesn’t technically require employers to pay this wage. Instead, the state allows employers to apply tips and meals as credits towards meeting the $8.85 minimum wage requirement. Ultimately, the value of the tips, gratuity, and any food provided by the employer must equal $8.85 per hour. If tip and food credits don’t meet the $8.85 minimum, the employer must pay out the balance themselves.   

Weekly: $354

Most employers who pay full-time employees a weekly salary must pay a minimum of $354 per week.

Annually: $18,408

Most employers who pay full-time employees a yearly salary must pay a minimum of $18,408 per year.

Overtime: $13.28 per hour

New Jersey requires employers to pay the federal overtime rate of 1.5 times the regular wage for employees who work over 40 hours in a seven-day workweek; for employers who pay the minimum wage, this overtime rate equals $13.28 per hour. Salaried employees in executive, administrative, or professional roles are exempt from overtime rules, meaning employers don’t have to pay them at an adjusted rate.    

New Jersey’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. As per federal law, there are some exceptions:

  • Employers can pay the youth minimum wage of $4.25 per hour to employees under the age of 20 for the first 90 calendar days of employment;
  • Employers can pay a subminimum wage to student-learners (vocational education students who are learning on the job), full-time students in certain industries (retail and service, agriculture, higher education), and workers with disabilities.

New Jersey’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase until it’s much higher than the federal minimum. 

New Jersey Minimum Wage Increase News

On July 1st, 2019, New Jersey will increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour for most employers. For seasonal employers, small employers with fewer than six employees, and agricultural employers, the minimum wage will remain $8.85. For employers who apply tip credits, the recommended minimum wage for tipped employees will change to $2.63 per hour. 

Beginning in 2020, the minimum wage will continue to increase as follows:

  • January 1st, 2020: $11 for most employers, $10.30 for seasonal, agricultural, and small employers, $3.13 for employers who apply tip credits (final wage for tipped employees must equal $11 per hour);
  • January 1st, 2021: $12 for most employers, $11.10 for seasonal and small employers, $10.30 for agricultural employers, $4.13 for employers who apply tip credits (final wage for tipped employees must equal $12 per hour);   
  • January 1st, 2022: $13 for most employers, $11.90 for seasonal and small employers, $10.90 for agricultural employers, $5.13 for employers who apply tip credits (final wage for tipped employees must equal $13 per hour);   
  • January 1st, 2023: $14 for most employers, $12.70 for seasonal and small employers, $11.70 for agricultural employers, $5.13 for employers who apply tip credits (final wage for tipped employees must equal $14 per hour); 
  • January 1st, 2024: $15 for most employers, $13.50 for seasonal and small employers, $12.50 for agricultural employers, $5.13 for employers who apply tip credits (final wage for tipped employees must equal $15 per hour);
  • January 1st, 2025: $14.30 for seasonal and small employers, $13.40 for agricultural employers;
  • January 1st, 2026: $15 for seasonal and small employers, $14.20 for agricultural employers;
  • January 1st, 2027: $15 for agricultural employers;

After the wage hits $15, New Jersey will continue to base further changes on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is tied to the rate of inflation.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

This post was updated July 1, 2019. It was originally published July 1, 2019.