New Jersey considers measures to benefit low-wage earners

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says legislation under consideration would help low-wage earners in New Jersey. (AP photo/ Mel Evans)

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says legislation under consideration would help low-wage earners in New Jersey. (AP photo/ Mel Evans)

A bill to increase New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 over the next five years is advancing through the Legislature.

Other measures to help low-income workers are also under consideration.

One bill would require employers to provide predictable schedules for employees in low-wage occupations, according to Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto.

“You need to know when you’re going to be at work because you have children, you have so many things for quality of life, that you need to make sure that those things are taken care of,” said Prieto, D-Hudson.

Analilia Mejia, the executive director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, said another bill awaiting action would expand labor law enforcement to make sure employees who depend on tips aren’t being shortchanged.

“Tipped workers — on a slow night, if they’re only working for tips — may not actually make the minimum wage,” she said. “So if we increase to $15 and we do not ensure that workers are actually protected from wage theft, we’re leaving a lot of women and women of color out in the cold.”

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