The New Jersey Legislature is considering a bill (S-3226; A-4870) to raise the minimum wage for employees of subcontractors at Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark Penn Station, and the Hoboken Terminal. If the bill passes, the minimum wage for these employees could be as high as $17.98 an hour, which would effectively eliminate and, in fact, more than double the current state minimum wage of $8.44 an hour.
Under the Safe Transportation Jobs and Fair Employment Rules Act, all entities that provide services at a covered transportation center must pay employees at a rate of not less than the greater of:
- the wage and benefit rates, together with the paid time off minimums, for those under the Guard I classification, as established under the federal Service Contract Act of 1965; or
- the wage and benefit rates, together with the paid time off minimums, for unarmed security guards as established under the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act.
Paid Vacations, Holidays
The bill would require employers to provide employees paid vacation as follows:
- 2 weeks after 1 year of employment;
- 3 weeks after 5 years of employment;
- 4 weeks after 15 years of employment; and
- 5 weeks after 25 years of employment.
Covered employers also would be required to provide 11 paid holidays each calendar year.
To the extent an employee must wear uniforms, the bill requires the employer to provide a sufficient number of uniforms to the employee or reimburse the employee for the cost of these.
Similarly, if the uniform requires cleaning and maintenance beyond typical “wash and wear” clothing, the employer must pay the employee an additional $3.35 per week.
The Act contains provisions applicable to tipped-employees, as well. It would require a minimum cash wage of two-thirds of the established minimum wage rounded to the nearest 5 cents (currently $11.90 per hour). The employer must demonstrate the employee earned the remainder of the minimum wage established by the Act through gratuities.
The Act appears to apply to all potential subcontractors at Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark Penn Station, and the Hoboken Terminal, including those providing catering, security, toilet, ramp cleaning, aircraft fueling, baggage handling, ticketing agents, cleaning, and concession services, among others. If the Act passes, the labor costs for covered subcontractors likely will increase dramatically and their existing service contracts may be affected.