Gateway Arcade Kiosk Minimum Wage

Jay Mackle, manager at Gateway 26 on the North Wildwood Boardwalk, explains the new rechargeable-card system that has allowed the arcade to reduce its staff by half this year. The move was made in anticipation of a possible increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

New Jersey’s minimum wage increases to $11 per hour for most workers on New Year’s Day, in an annual step toward a $15 minimum wage by Jan. 1, 2024.

Across the U.S., 21 states will raise their minimum wage this year, including several to $12 an hour or more. The minimum wage rose to $15 an hour for all workers in New York City as of Tuesday.

“We are beginning to see some of the unintended consequences of $15 minimum wage increases — whether it’s the stalling of entry-level job growth in Seattle or restaurants adding surcharges to food bills to offset labor ordinances in California,” said Michele N. Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

She said New Jersey has an opportunity to avoid similar problems with corrective legislation.

The NJBIA is supporting legislation that suspends scheduled minimum wage increases during an economic downturn, “particularly as Standard & Poor’s has reported that New Jersey is one of 15 states at an elevated risk for fiscal distress during the next recession,” Siekerka said.

California and New York have enacted economic off-ramps from their incremental, $15 minimum wage policies, Siekerka said.

“NJBIA also continues to support a proposal for tax credits to employers hiring workers under 18 years old, who are now increasingly at risk of not being hired with a higher pay rate,” Siekerka said. “We are also advocating for legislation establishing a task force to study the impact of minimum wage increases on businesses.”

When Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation in February to phase in the state’s minimum wage to $15, South Jersey businesses said they planned to change hiring practices and find new ways to remain competitive.

The bill raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour in July, then hikes the rate by $1 in subsequent years until it reaches $15 in 2024. After that, wages would increase with the Consumer Price Index.

The time frame is longer for seasonal and farm workers.

“It’s going to make us really rethink our hiring practices,” said Bob’s Garden Center General Manager Jackie Hudson earlier this year. “We used to hire a lot of high school students under 18 for their first job, with no experience.”

That will probably not continue at $15 an hour, she said of the Egg Harbor Township operation for both growing and selling flowers and other plants.

Jay Mackle, manager at Gateway 26 on the North Wildwood Boardwalk, has said the business invested in a rechargeable-card system that allowed the arcade to reduce its staff by half, in anticipation of increases in the minimum wage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact: 609-272-7219

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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