Jan. 18 (UPI) -- New Jersey lawmakers reached an agreement to gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 for most workers.
Should it be passed into law, the first hike will see the minimum hourly wage jump from the current $8.85 to $10 July 1, NJ Advanced Media reported.
New Jersey's Democratic Governor Phil Murphy called the Thursday night agreement a "historic step" in strengthening his state's middle class.
"No one working a full-time job should ever live in poverty. Putting the minimum wage on a clear and responsible path to $15/hour is good for workers, good for our businesses, and good for our economy," he said in a tweet.
No one working a full-time job should ever live in poverty. Putting the minimum wage on a clear and responsible path to $15/hour is good for workers, good for our businesses, and good for our economy.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) January 17, 2019
Employees of businesses of five workers of fewer and seasonal workers, however, will have to wait until 2026 for their paychecks to reach the $15-an-hour mark, News 12 New Jersey reported.
"We have, as of this agreement today, changed the lives of 1 million workers in the state and, by the way, another 500,000 children who depend on those workers," Governor Murphy said in a Facebook Live virtual town hall.
This deal comes a day after congressional Democrats submitted a similar bill that would see the federal minimum wage incrementally rise to $15 an hour by 2024 and four days after a state Senate subcommittee panel advanced legislation advanced legislation to increase Virginia's minimum wage to this mark by 2021.