Opinion: Higher wage will make NJ’s low-income households safer, healthier

New Jersey’s women and working families just earned a hard-fought victory.

Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced an agreement with legislative leaders to raise the minimum wage for most workers to $15 an hour by 2024. This will bring financial relief to low-income families and strengthen the state’s economy over time. It’s also an important step toward making households safer and healthier.

Although New Jersey’s overall unemployment rate has gone down, the number of families confronting poverty and economic hardship is relatively stuck. Paychecks are not meeting basic needs. When you cannot afford the bills, food, and rent, you are not likely to be planning — or saving — for the future, either.

Op Ed by Debra Lancaster executive director, Center of Women and Work at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and Andrea Hetling is a Faculty Adviser at the Center for Women and Work and associate professor at the Bloustein School, January 25, 2019