NJ COURT REJECTS CHALLENGE TO TRENTON SICK LEAVE LAW

In November, Trenton passed an ordinance that entitles certain employees to paid sick leave. Business groups, including The New Jersey Business and Industry Association, State Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Food Council and others, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to void the law.   Christopher Gibson, the lawyer for the business groups, argued that paid sick leave should be uniform throughout the state rather than legislated locally by individual municipalities. He further argued that the law was “vague, ambiguous and contrary to New Jersey law.” After hearing three hours of argument, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobsen rejected these arguments and ruled that the ordinance is reasonably related to promoting the health of Trenton’s citizens and the people who work there.

To date, nine municipalities have passed similar paid sick leave laws, including, Jersey City, Newark and Montclair.

NEW JERSEY IS AMONG 14 STATES TO HAVE INCREASED ITS STATEWIDE MINIMUM WAGE

Last November, New Jersey residents successfully voted to increase the state minimum wage by one dollar.  As such, legislation signed by Governor Chris Christie increased the statewide hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25, effective January 1, 2014.    New Jersey is among  14 states to implement higher wage increases, including, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.  New Jersey is now tied with Connecticut, Washington D.C. and Illinois, as the fourth state in the nation for the highest minimum wage, following Oregon, at $8.95 per hour, Vermont, at $8.60 per hour, and Washington, at $9.19 per hour.  Interestingly, however, of the states tied for fourth place, only New Jersey’s minimum wage rate incorporates annual wage increases tied to the cost of living.