Minimum Wage & Paid Family Leave Victories in New Jersey Will Positively Impact Low-Wage Workers

Monarch Board Member Brian Kulas One of Many Advocates Working to Lift Up New Jersey’s Working Poor Residents

The minimum wage victory in the New Jersey legislature on January 31, 2019, will raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2024. In a 23-16 Senate vote and 52-25 Assembly vote, New Jersey will increase its minimum wage to $10 an hour later this year. 

Under this new legislation, the minimum wage will increase by $1 at the start of every new year until it reaches $15 by 2024. 

On January 31, NorthJersey.com reported,”On Monday, I’ll sign this bill into law,” Murphy said on Twitter shortly after the Thursday votes by lawmakers. “Working families can’t wait.”This bill will lift a million New Jereyans up financially.  

Thank you to the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN) and all of the other organizations and advocates who worked to lift up working poor residents in New Jersey!

Seasonal and some small business workers will also see increases but at a slower rate. New Jersey joins California, New York, and Massachusetts in committing to a state-wide $15 hourly minimum.

At the bill signing in Elizabeth on February 4, Brian Kulas, a member of Monarch Housing’s Board of Trustees and an APN Garden State Leader, introduced New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Click here for NJTV’s live stream of the bill signing which includes Brian’s introduction.

Brian is a low-wage worker who has been advocating for months alongside APN and other advocates for a $15 minimum wage bill.  Brian has also been a tireless advocate around ending homelessness.  He has traveled annually to Washington to D.C. to speak to our congressional delegation about the critical need to fight cuts to federal housing funding.

“Congratulations to advocates across the state including our very own board member Brian Kulas,”  says Monarch Housing CEO Taiisa Kelly.  “I join Monarch Housing’s Board of Trustees and staff in applauding Brian and his fellow advocates their hard work to fight to increase the minimum wage in New Jersey. This is an amazing victory that helps hard working New Jerseyans working to provide for themselves and families afford the high cost of housing in New Jersey.  This major step forward will assist Monarch’s goal of ending homelessness in New Jersey and help to ensure that all New Jerseyans have the right to housing.”

Monarch Housing Associates joins in APN in applauding Brian and everyone else involved who made possible this monumental win for many low-wage workers.  Low-wage workers will see increase in wages beginning on July 1st. 

While there is still more work to be done for agricultural, tipped, and domestic workers in New Jersey, this minimum-wage increase is a great victory to be savored.

The second bill, S-2528, on January 31, 2019, passed the Senate in a 27-11 vote to expand New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave Insurance program. This legislation would double the number of benefits weeks from six to 12 in any one-year period.  

The Paid Family Leave legislation also increases the weekly benefit claims for workers from two-thirds to 85 percent of average weekly income.  The bill expands the definition of family members that a workers can be caring for while on leave.  These are just several of the improvement to the state’s Paid Family Leave Insurance program. 

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