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Bill to raise minimum wage for tipped workers advances

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A bill sponsored by a number of Democrats that would increase the minimum hourly wage for employees working on tops was voted on Monday by the Assembly Labor Committee.

Under the bill, the current minimum wage for tipped workers of $2.13 per hour would jump to $3.37 per hour after Dec. 31, 2014 and then to $5.93 per hour by Dec. 31, 2015.

Despite the low hourly rates, tipped workers are still entitled to the state’s $8.25 minimum wage as employers are mandated by law to cover the difference if they fall short.

Still, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson), a bill sponsor, said that the current rate of $2.13 per hour is a “paltry sum that has been frozen for more than 20 years and is lower than most states, including all of our surrounding states.”

“It is time for New Jersey to catch up,” Sumter said.

Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Bayonne), another of the bill’s sponsors, agrees with Sumter.

“This is a matter of fairness and equitable pay,” O’Donnell said. “Tipped employees in New York and Connecticut are earning more than twice what tipped workers are earning here in New Jersey. Let’s give these employees a better foundation build from and increase their minimum wage.”

Assemblywoman Marine Caride ((D-Ridgefield) and Assemblyman Joseph Egan (D-New Brunswick) are also listed as sponsors on the legislation, which will allow for employers to claim credit for gratuities received by their workers and set up a process for providing substantial evidence to back up those claims.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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