Show & Tell: The impact of a $15 minimum wage

Michele Siekerka is the CEO and president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

We asked her to discuss the impact of a $15 minimum wage.

The governor and legislative leadership support a mandated $15 minimum wage, which means we can expect a bill to advance. Because many small businesses will not be able to absorb a steep increase without reducing staff, hours or benefits, raising prices or automating, NJBIA is strongly advocating for multiple exemptions. 

Some of those carve-outs include youth wages for teenagers; training wages for new employees; exemptions for seasonal tourism businesses and farmworkers; considerations for nonprofits; a gradual phase-in of the new rate; and economic off-ramp provisions to protect small businesses during a major economic downturn.

Resetting the minimum wage, without raising the skill level for a position, could lead to the re-setting of all wages, which would have significant impact on many businesses. Because higher skill levels demand higher wages, job training should be a key aspect in any discussion.”