New Jersey passed a bill to increase workers’ minimum wage from $10 to $11 an hour in 2019, and it was officially enforced on Jan. 1. of the new year.
The minimum wage is also set to increase yearly by one dollar an hour until 2024, when it will reach and remain at $15 an hour. This new bill directly affects college students who work to afford school and basic living costs at minimum wage earnings.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest majority of minimum wage earners are between the ages of 16 and 24, making this topic one of large concern for college students.
Junior animation major Sydney Kramer is a Student Information Desk employee in the Student Center. She believes that the minimum wage increase will help college students pay for college utilities.
“I am definitely for the dollar raise, even though it’s just a dollar,” Kramer said. “Every dollar counts when you are a college student, especially because of the rise in prices of things like textbooks and supplies. It definitely helps out a lot to have a little extra money in your pocket.”
While the new legislation will put more cash in the hands of college students with minimum wage jobs, many businesses will struggle to pay for the increase in employee wages. This will decrease the availability of jobs, while at the same increase the cost of goods and services.
Charles Gu, a senior majoring in accounting and finance, works as a resident assistant on campus and believes that the increased minimum wage won’t make much of a difference.
“It’s very hard for midsize businesses to continually pay their workers an increasing wage,” Gu said. “I don’t think it will be a huge impact because employee expense is tax-deductible. It’s not as much as people thought it would be.”
Increasing wages could force owners to minimize hours or hire fewer workers.
“I don’t think that they should keep increasing it. I believe that we should be paid by our value and our ideas, but not our time,” Gu said. “Increased minimum wage will come with cutting hours.”